To this reader at least a sub-mushroom setting is a handicap to overcome, and Ruth Krauss' scattered snatches of childlike conversation only increase the risk of preciosity. Most of the way, however, she manages to maintain a precarious balance in her rhyme full of "tittles" (". . . little smile little frown little street little town. . . little fairy little wish little spaghetti little dish. . ."), which marches across the top of each page while Margot Tomes' barefoot toddlers come and go below, carrying props for their exercises in make believe. "Here comes a firefly for when the moon goes off" says one bearing a candle, and another with petals on her head announces "here comes a wild flower! WOOF." There are other comments dropped here and there — "I'll be the little street and you be the little street cleaner" (the speaker pictured prone, while a companion sweeps him with a broom) or "I wouldn't wish to be spaghetti" — and it all does take place under a mushroom, to the likely satisfaction of whimsical grownups and children too young to care why.

Pub Date: March 1, 1974

ISBN: 0590173715

Page Count: -

Publisher: Four Winds/MacMillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1974

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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