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

READ REVIEW

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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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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