of self-discovery. (Picture book. 4-7)

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MORT THE SPORT

Even for an elephant, Mort has too much on his plate. Kraus's pachyderm loves playing sports—all sorts of sports—and

his father is there to urge him on. His mother would like him to play the violin as well, to broaden his cultural horizons. Since Mort is a sport, he agrees to his mother's fancy. Practicing the violin and pursuing sports is logistically demanding, yet there is Mort sawing away at the violin while awaiting his turn at bat. All of this is fine until an overtaxed Mort starts to draw his bow across his bat and take cuts at the fastball with his violin. Confusion reigns, Mort's in a dither, and his parents come to realize that "we're putting too much pressure on Mort." So they ask him, "What do you want to play, baseball or the violin?" "Chess," he groans. "I want to sit down." Not surprisingly, he fast becomes champion of the world, which is not to say he wouldn't have excelled at his parents' chosen activities—it’s just nice to know the young sport has a sense of who he is. Himmelman’s illustrations are full of life and work well with Mort's dizzying predicament to yield a funny, approachable tale

of self-discovery. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-531-30247-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000

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WHEN UNCLE TOOK THE FIDDLE

PLB 0-531-33137-7 At night, everyone in the family from the father to the dog is tuckered out, but when Uncle starts to tune his fiddle, toes start tapping and hands begin clapping. The energy of music will fuel the imaginations of those who loved Gray’s My Mama Had a Dancing Heart (1995). Exhilarating nonsense phrases reproduce the sounds of this bluegrass band: “Pick-a-pluck-a-plum” sings Miss Essie’s banjo; “Shu-sha-shu/Rick-a-rack-a-MEW!” is the sound of square dancers gliding around the room, while a cat dodges among their feet. The music brings the whole valley to life as the neighbors join in, and by the time everyone leaves, the big full moon is peeking over the hill. Bloom’s gentle illustrations conjure up the soft nights of early summer, the air scented with flowering trees and ringing with tunes. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30137-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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HUSH, LITTLE ALIEN

PLB 0-7868-2469-7 Kirk (Bigger, 1998, etc.) spins out an extraterrestrial version of the familiar lullaby, featuring a four-armed father promising his banana-colored little one, among other prizes, a shooting star, an astronaut (against the astronaut’s wishes, it appears), a laser rifle, tools to build a spaceship and, finally, a good-night kiss. Giving his aliens the look of hard-shelled retro toys with large liquid eyes, the author develops a silent plotline—the little alien builds the spaceship because he’s melted the old one with his new laser—as they move from a near-Earth orbit to the bottle-strewn Milky Way. It’s a bedtime journey as loving, if not quite as soporific, as the original. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7868-0538-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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