ME FIRST!

PREFIXES LEAD THE WAY

Not as strong as either Pulver and Reed’s others or Brian P. Cleary and Martin Goneau’s Pre- and Re-, Mis- and Dis- (2013).

Once again looking in on the doings in Mr. Wright’s classroom, Pulver and Reed continue their language arts series with a look at prefixes.

Lumps of roughly formed clay with painted features and pipe-cleaner legs, the anthropomorphized prefixes are having trouble waiting until Mr. Wright gets around to his promised review of prefixes with his class. It also happens to be Leadership Day at the school, and Mr. Wright, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, is teaching his class about Lincoln’s life and the qualities that made him a good leader. Luckily, the prefixes learn a lot from this lesson, and their former bragging and boastfulness turn to humility. When it’s finally their turn to shine, they make sure the kids can see them around the room as the children complete their assignment: two sentences using prefixes about how they would help or make a difference as a leader. The many prefixes used and shoehorned into the text are set apart by capital letters (“UNsure,” “MISled”) so readers can easily pick them out, but unfortunately, the lesson on leadership detracts from the lesson on prefixes. Backmatter includes a definition of prefixes and a few more facts, and the endpapers feature 16 of the labeled prefix characters with their meanings and an example for each.

Not as strong as either Pulver and Reed’s others or Brian P. Cleary and Martin Goneau’s Pre- and Re-, Mis- and Dis- (2013). (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3644-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

From the Three-Ring Rascals series , Vol. 1

Most children will agree the book is “smafunderful (smart + fun + wonderful).” (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

In this entertaining chapter book, the first in a series, readers meet kind Sir Sidney and the gentle performers and hands in his circus. But Sir Sidney is tired and leaves the circus under the management of new-hire Barnabas Brambles for a week.

That Sir Sidney is beloved by all is quickly established, presenting a sharp contrast to the bully Brambles. The scoundrel immediately comes up with a “to do” list that includes selling the animals and eliminating the mice Bert and Gert. (Gert is almost more distressed by Brambles’ ill-fitting suit and vows to tailor it.) Revealed almost entirely through dialogue, the put-upon animals’ solidarity is endearing. The story, like the circus train now driven by the Famous Flying Banana Brothers, takes absurd loops and turns. The art is fully integrated, illustrating the action and supplementing the text with speech bubbles, facsimile letters and posters, Brambles’ profit-and-loss notes, examples of Gert’s invented vocabulary and more. Brambles’ plans go awry, of course, and he gets his comeuppance. With Bert and Gert acting as his conscience, along with a suit from Gert that finally fits and a dose of forgiveness, Brambles makes a turnaround. Sensitive children may doubt Sir Sidney’s wisdom in leaving his animals with an unscrupulous man, and the closing message is a tad didactic, but that doesn’t blunt the fun too much.

Most children will agree the book is “smafunderful (smart + fun + wonderful).” (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61620-244-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor Book

THEY ALL SAW A CAT

A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Caldecott Honor Book

Wouldn’t the same housecat look very different to a dog and a mouse, a bee and a flea, a fox, a goldfish, or a skunk?

The differences are certainly vast in Wenzel’s often melodramatic scenes. Benign and strokable beneath the hand of a light-skinned child (visible only from the waist down), the brindled cat is transformed to an ugly, skinny slinker in a suspicious dog’s view. In a fox’s eyes it looks like delectably chubby prey but looms, a terrifying monster, over a cowering mouse. It seems a field of colored dots to a bee; jagged vibrations to an earthworm; a hairy thicket to a flea. “Yes,” runs the terse commentary’s refrain, “they all saw the cat.” Words in italics and in capital letters in nearly every line give said commentary a deliberate cadence and pacing: “The cat walked through the world, / with its whiskers, ears, and paws… // and the fish saw A CAT.” Along with inviting more reflective viewers to ruminate about perception and subjectivity, the cat’s perambulations offer elemental visual delights in the art’s extreme and sudden shifts in color, texture, and mood from one page or page turn to the next.

A solo debut for Wenzel showcasing both technical chops and a philosophical bent. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5013-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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