The Pakistani setting provides an additional and timely dimension to this perfectly paced story. Saba is a little girl who finds power in confronting something even more frightening than the terrifying chickens of the courtyard, who threaten her with their “bony beaks, razor claws,” and “GLITTERY eyes.” There, in the “dim and calm and cool” respite of the bathhouse, she spies a “curled-up something” in the corner—could it be a deadly snake? If she screams, her Nani will come running and perhaps be bitten. She must take care of it herself, but how? A stick to kill it? A bucket to trap it? All Saba wants to do is “run and look for cover.” But she must act. At times the phrasing is staccato, “All is silent. All is still. / Not a movement, not a rustle.” Christie’s (Love to Langston, p. 48, etc.) bold and colorful illustrations show Saba’s feelings through her facial expressions and body language, and provide the balance between ambiguity and realism that the text requires. A spiral snake shape adorns the back cover, snake-like forms decorate the text, and even the road to Saba’s house is snake-like. Suspense, a positive message, and illustrations that show up across the room, make this a winner for reading aloud. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-670-03583-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002


At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992


Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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