This 900-year-old story has not lost its classic feel.

THE PARROT AND THE MERCHANT

From the Tales by Rumi series

A tale of Rumi, the famous Persian poet, in which interactions between humans and animals result in a memorable moral.

Mah Jahan is a Persian merchant who travels widely and trades in all sorts of things. On one of her trips to India, she brings back a “beautiful bright parrot” to add to her collection of caged birds; it quickly becomes her favorite bird, and she loves it dearly. Before traveling again, Mah Jahan asks her servants and the parrot what they would like her to bring them back as gifts. The servants share what they would like, but the parrot’s request is unusual: It asks Mah Jahan to tell all its old friends in India it misses them and to solicit their advice for it. In seeking to bring the parrot’s requested gift, Mah Jahan does not get what she expected, and the gift eventually results in the bird’s freedom. This old Rumi tale is adapted by making the merchant a woman but is not otherwise significantly modernized. Iranian illustrator Vafaeian’s ornamented, often surreal illustrations depict Mah Jahan in enormous, colorful skirts and frequently surrounded by comparatively tiny servants. The parrot’s cage is likewise stylized, an ornamented circle that contains the unhappy captive. Despite the exuberant color used as highlights, the gray-and-sepia illustrations are often gloomy, befitting its theme.

This 900-year-old story has not lost its classic feel. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910328-03-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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