Entertaining writing and appealing illustrations encourage kids to tap into their resources.


From the Tiny Ninja Books series , Vol. 1

A boy channels his inner Ninja for courage and motivation in this debut picture book.

Milo is a young, active white boy with tons of energy—except in the morning. When he wakes up, he snuggles deeper into his bed, “a glorious cocoon of warm, cozy goodness,” and imagines staying there forever. Getting to school is a battle. But ever since he was 3 years old, Milo has had an “awesome” Tiny Ninja companion, a masked figure just like himself who is brave, considerate, and strong. One night, Milo’s mom asks him to be on time the next morning, because she has an important meeting. He agrees, but when he wakes, he stays under the covers. Tiny Ninja comes to the rescue. Milo’s companion gets the boy ready for school in no time, making the child’s mother proud. Tiny Ninja assures Milo he’ll always be with him. Throughout, several full-spread illustrations invite readers to find the hidden Ninjas, allowing them to practice attention to detail. In her series opener, Graham uses the tiny but fierce Ninja as a clever metaphor for the duller-sounding concepts of responsibility and growing up. Also enlivening is the author’s amusing narration, as when Milo avoids fault by pretending: “I’m a helpless dinosaur. The tar pits are sucking me in!” The pastel images by Valieva (The Can Be Book, 2018) are alive with personality, incident, and detail, especially in the search-for-Ninjas pages.

Entertaining writing and appealing illustrations encourage kids to tap into their resources.

Pub Date: April 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64237-467-4

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Gatekeeper Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2019

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.


Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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