DINNER AT ALBERTA'S

Here's an author/illustrator match that might have been made in heaven. What Marshall's lovably lumpish, light-headed characters have needed all along is a dose of the kind of home-truth psychology that underlies Hoban's sense of humor. Here poor Arthur Crocodile, a spade-snouted, snaggle-toothed teenager, is always picked on at dinner for his poor table manners—"Little bits of ravioli are landing on your sister. . . Arthur is diddling with his spoon. . . now he is feeling the saltshaker. . . ." All it takes is one glance from the heavy-lidded, come-hither eyes of Alberta Saurian to change him. Alberta thinks Arthur is "really adorable" and if he's to get a chance to play the song he wrote for her on his electric guitar hell have to cram in enough manners to fake his way through dinner with the Saurians. Arthur's nervousness ("Howmanydays wegot?") is contagious, and—after he takes bratty Sydney Saurian out to the treehouse for a lesson—you'll agree that "the nicest part of manners is teaching them to other people." Sly and scampish.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1975

ISBN: 0099976900

Page Count: 38

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1975

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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