SPRAY

Unhappy as a newcomer on Martha's Vineyard, Justin sets out to sea in his sailing dory, dreaming of his hero, Captain Slocum, who became the first man to sail around the world in 1898. When Justin capsizes, a firm hand pulls him out of the sea and he finds himself aboard the battered sloop, Spray, with Captain Slocum at the helm. The two embark on a fantastic journey until Justin is ready to make his way home. Blake's glowing oil paintings capture the sweep of the sea in double-page spreads showing towering rigging, a slashing storm, a sparkling night sky, and all the details that comprise a sailing ship: wood planking, coiled rope, complicated pulleys. Captain Slocum is ably characterized, a terse loner who insists that Justin must earn his turn at the wheel. The make-believe, however, is somewhat diffuse: It's not clear whether Justin is dumped overboard before or as part of his musings (if it's before, children may worry about his rescue) and the fantasy becomes multilayered, as Slocum retreats and other ghostly players take over. A spelling error (buoy is spelled ``bouy'') and the sailing terms used in clipped dialogue will leave some readers in Justin's wake. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-22770-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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UNDER THE SNOW

A snow-covered countryside may look barren of life, but Stewart’s quiet text takes readers under the blanket of white to “a hidden world” where ladybugs sleep en masse and voles tunnel from tree to tree, where a wood frog freezes safely solid and bluegills and waterboatmen share frigid waters, where a turtle lies buried in mud and “even on the coldest winter days, red-spotted newts dodge and dart, whiz and whirl just below the ice.” Bergum’s equally quiet watercolors spread across the pages in panels that offer cross-sections and magnified details to give readers glimpses of the world beneath the snow. Their precision lends a dignity and beauty even to a sleeping centipede and a barbeled carp. Readers will come away with an appreciation for the adaptability and endurance of the animal world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56145-493-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2009

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