Still, this is a pretty painless way to teach capitalization and letter writing.

THE CASE OF THE INCAPACITATED CAPITALS

Mr. Wright’s class learns the importance of capital letters in this latest from Pulver and Reed.

Feeling underused and ignored, the bandaged and splinted capital letters are not doing their job—they are incapacitated. But life goes on as usual in Mr. Wright’s class, the students not noticing the absence of the uppercases, even when they compose a letter. But Mr. Wright notices. “[W]riting a letter is not the same as texting.” His clueless class takes a while to cotton on to the problem, though, getting wrapped up in guessing Mr. Wright’s nickname. Humorous asides punctuate their teacher’s lesson on capitalization rules and the format for writing a letter (both of which are summed up in the backmatter). But when the kids try to correct their mistakes, they discover the deplorable condition of the uppercase letters. Luckily, the lowercase letters sent out an SOS, and the medics arrive to save the day. A fascinating note caps things off by explaining how capital and small letters got the monikers uppercase and lowercase. Reed’s acrylic-and-digital artwork sports her now-trademark style, childlike figures surrounded by doctored plastic fridge magnets. But this is not as strong as their other language-arts titles, Pulver taking too long setting up the story.

Still, this is a pretty painless way to teach capitalization and letter writing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2402-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more