A rare miss for this innovative imprint.

BARRY'S BEST BUDDY

Bored Barry's buddy has a surprise for him, but when will they get to it?

Snaggle-toothed, big-nosed Polarhog (who looks like a big, white groundhog) knocks on the door of his friend Barry, a small, big-headed blue bird, waking him from a lovely nap. Polarhog has a surprise for Barry somewhere. On the way to the surprise, they pass a hat store. Despite Barry's insistence that he doesn't like hats, Polarhog buys them both hats...but that's not the surprise. It’s not the ice cream Polarhog buys his buddy, nor is it the meatball Polarhog finds (don't ask where). They return to Barry's house to find it gloriously painted and decorated for Barry's birthday by the ants the friends have been passing throughout their long walk. French, winner of several comics industry awards for her trippy, often disturbing work for adults, releases her first children's title not under the "Rainy Dohaney" pseudonym. As a "level 1" comic for emergent readers, it will likely confuse children more than entice them to the format. The full-bleed illustrations have no panels. The friends walk a continuous path in the illustrations and appear multiple times on the two-page spreads. At one point, they stand outside the hat shop, and on the same page, their voices also come from within. This nice story of friendship breaks too many rules of the format for readers just starting out.

A rare miss for this innovative imprint. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-935179-21-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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