EEK! CREAK! SNICKER, SNEAK

When all the town is fast asleep, two creatures crawl and creep, making eerie sounds and playing scary tricks on children. The grownups try to explain away the children’s fears as they cry and complain, but of course they can’t see the menacing shadows of the two tricksters—one tall, one small. Told in rhyme with the sounds printed in big, bold letters, the action is played out in full double-page spreads that colorfully depict Bugbear, a giant-like being wearing red striped shorts, and Bugaboo, a potbellied, green, furry animal. Notes from the author and illustrator (on the verso of the title page) explain that the names in folklore mean “hobgoblins” and describe the fun the illustrator had in creating the creatures. Kids will delight in the satisfying switch when the children gather up their courage and turn the tables on the two by yelling “BOO” and chasing them away. The playful exaggeration in the illustrations of the two wide-eyed children and the two wild and wiley tricksters sets up the twist neatly and the type style in BlockheadUnplugged contributes to the spookiness of the sound effects. On repeated reads, kids will eagerly join in with the word sounds as they anticipate the child-size victory. (Picture Book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83047-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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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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THIS SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE THE BEST!

On the first day of school, this primary-grade teacher encourages her students to share their hopes for the coming year. In one- or two-page spreads, the wishes unfold: for the best seat on the bus, a chocolate fountain at lunch, to kick the ball into the right goal, not to be a vegetable in the school play. The quotidian-but-nevertheless-marvelous (“at least one snow day”) mixes with the slightly ridiculous (“We’ll have Skateboard Day”) to provide a kid-level survey of anticipated fun. Andriani’s line-and-watercolor cartoons likewise mix the fanciful (one little boy brings his giant purple boa constrictor for show-and-tell) and the realistic (two girls jump double Dutch as one of them imagines making friends in her new school). A catalog more than a story, this agreeable book could act as a fruitful springboard for class brainstorming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-42275-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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