BADGER’S NEW HOUSE

A mix of common sense and generosity puts everyone in their rightful space. Badger, an amiable fellow who enjoys his creature comforts, lives in a snug little home under a spreading tree, drawn with the kind of warmth that makes you want to spread it with butter. Unfortunately, said tree doesn’t protect the house from being beaten like a gong by a fierce storm. With so many repairs to be undertaken, Badger decides to move out—he’s not handy—and makes his house available to Grandmother Mouse. Badger takes up residence in huge digs. Too huge—so sweeping are the premises that sometimes he can’t even make it to his bedroom before falling asleep. Grandmother Mouse invites him over for a visit, during which she asks if Badger might just fix the door. To his surprise, he does. Invited back again and again, he fixes this and that to the point where his old home is good as new (and he has a new self-confidence on the home-repair front). Badger starts eyeing his old place with envy, and mice being mice, they could use more room. A swap is arranged and everyone is the happier. Watercolor and pencil crayon art conveys sunny domestic bliss as well as the gloom of unhappy dwellings. Lots of charming detail and square footage used as it was meant to be. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6383-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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