Despite a little too much emphasis on its moral, a satisfying story of just rewards for just actions.

THE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

A girl who is beautiful within becomes beautiful without, but her mean stepsister cannot follow her path.

An Iranian-born author uses a “Toads and Diamonds” base for her original tale. Shiraz, Cinderella-like when her father dies after marrying a woman with a daughter, goes to find a red ball of yarn (left by her own mother) when it blows into a strange neighbor’s garden. She meets an old woman, who, curiously, asks Shiraz to further destroy the neglected house and garden, and then to cut her tangled hair short, but the compassionate girl disobeys and makes everything perfect. The old lady gives her the wool and directs her to bathe in two pools. When Shiraz returns, her stepfamily is amazed by her beauty. The stepmother insists that Monir visit the woman, but the stepsister cannot muster Shiraz’s goodness. She follows the instructions literally and destroys everything. After greedily immersing herself in the pools more times than directed, she comes home bedraggled and ugly. Mother and daughter demand to understand this very different result, and Shiraz reveals her secret. The gouache paintings with their bold color blocks and scribbly lines provide a picture of a timeless Tehran and a girl who is a whirlwind of energy.

Despite a little too much emphasis on its moral, a satisfying story of just rewards for just actions. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84686-929-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Another win for Judy and her friends.

JUDY MOODY, BOOK QUIZ WHIZ

From the Judy Moody series , Vol. 15

Determination and hard work prepare Judy Moody as she tests her knowledge of book trivia in a battle of the books.

Judy, little brother Stink, and some familiar classmates from their second and third grade classes are the Virginia Dare School Bookworms, the book quiz champions who will be representing the school in the First Ever Book Quiz Blowout at the Starlight Lanes Bowling Alley. Nervous about their competition—Braintree Academy’s Bloodsucking Fake-Moustache Defenders and their star player, Mighty Fantaskey—the team is taking every possible moment to read: on the bus, during karate class, and even at the dinner table. Stink makes a cape out of scribbled-on sticky notes on the books he’s read, and Judy tries her hand at speed-reading. Enthusiasm for reading is never lost even as the children prepare for the contest. A diverse gathering of familiar titles is referenced throughout, matching this series’ reading level (all titles mentioned are compiled in the backmatter). Building excitement propels the story up through the competition to an ultimately satisfying ending. Reynolds’ well-placed watercolor, tea, and ink illustrations break up text, allowing necessary breaks for bridging readers. Aside from teacher and coach Mr. Todd, who is black, and Mighty Fantaskey, who seems to be a child of color, all characters appear white.

Another win for Judy and her friends. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0484-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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