RIPPLE GROVE

A well-told tale sure to enchant older and younger readers alike.

Take a fairy-filled walk through the woods.

One pleasant day, Dad introduces his daughter, Stella, to Ripple Grove and tells her a story about the fairies who live there and protect the forest. He believes the fairies are real. Will she? Larson employs three different styles of illustrations: the first, lush mossy green forest and underground scenes; the second, a labeled cartoonish drawing identifying the characters; and the last, annotated maps of Ripple Grove and its multilayered magical world of the Underground Meadow, where an underground River with No Name helps magic crystals grow, and Hobb Hill, home of the Trelfs, “a dirty, rotten bunch who didn’t take care of their trees, or soil, or water” and whose land is dying. The Trelfs want to steal the crystals and keep all the magic while letting Ripple Grove and the fairies waste away. Dad’s storytelling, illustrations that turn somber, and well-timed page turns capture this tense conflict between good and evil as the tiny fairies defend their home from the giant Trelfs. At the end of the father’s tale, the pair head home. The story could end at Stella’s bedtime, but it doesn’t. Subtle hints in earlier scenes—a portfolio tucked under Dad’s arm—make sense when Dad gets to work drawing after Stella is asleep. Though younger children will enjoy hearing this read aloud, older ones will pore over the in-depth artwork. Both father and daughter present White; the magical beings vary in skin tone. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A well-told tale sure to enchant older and younger readers alike. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64160-819-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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