Compassionate and imaginative (Picture book. 5-9)

THE CURIOUS FOX

A young fox wonders how he can discover what makes him unique in this big world.

After Fox wakes up he asks himself, “I wonder if I have a feature / that sets me ’part from other creatures?” Leaving his mother asleep in their den, he decides to find out. Fox recalls that whenever he has had any problem his first instinct is to sniff the problem out. He figures it must be his nose that makes him special, until he meets a hog with such a spectacular nose his own seems puny in comparison. The kindly hog agrees his nose is useful, but he yearns for a longer neck—rather like Fox’s. Encouraged, Fox continues feeling good about his neck until he meets…a giraffe! The story continues with Fox meeting creature after creature, all of which have better attributes than he. Tail down, he goes home and tells mother, “This day has been the worstest ever!” Mammy Fox consoles him but also guides him to understand how his remarkable journey has taught him important life lessons. McDonagh’s gentle rhyming couplets weave a sense of warmth into this Irish import, which is longer than what many North American readers will be accustomed to, frequently offering eight four-line stanzas in a double-page spread. O’Brien’s evocative illustrations balance the tone of the text. Young readers who wonder about their own individuality will easily identify with Fox’s quest.

Compassionate and imaginative (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84730-682-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Veritas Publications/Dufour Editions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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