Both old-fashioned and fresh-feeling, this book is thoroughly worthy of a shopping trip.

SUNDAY SHOPPING

As comfortable as a Sunday afternoon with Grandma, Derby’s picture book sneaks a wee bit of financial literacy into her story of playtime and imagination. 

Evie’s weekly shopping trip with Grandma is something special. Right away, young readers will see that Evie and Grandma are preparing for no ordinary trip to the market. “On Sunday night, after we put on our nightgowns, Grandma and I go shopping,” says Evie. Grandma dons her spiffy blue hat with the feather, and Evie grabs Grandma’s big, black purse, and then it’s time to shop. But their trip begins not in a taxi or walking through a town square. It begins in the comfort of Grandma’s big, comfy bed. Evie and Grandma break open the Sunday paper, pull out the sales ads, and begin. Simple phrasing, sparse and easy to read, and charmingly spare watercolor art help create a feeling that is at once realistic and fantastical. The shopping duo plunge headlong into the sales ads, choosing items from marked-down hams and sweet cherries to mustard; these two don’t dream big—they dream thrifty. Evie has stuffed Grandma’s purse with colorful play money, and the two follow a “budget” as they wend their way through grocery stores, furniture stores and fashion outlets. Strickland’s playful mix of watercolor, paper cutouts, and collage both engages on its own and supports the story’s theme.

Both old-fashioned and fresh-feeling, this book is thoroughly worthy of a shopping trip. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60060-438-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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