A MUD PIE FOR MOTHER

Little Pig goes in search of the perfect gift for his mother’s birthday only to find that sometimes the best gifts come when you are not even looking. Slipping away while Mother Pig is asleep, Little Pig spies a bright flower, a perfect birthday gift. Unfortunately, a friendly bee also seems to enjoy the flower, so Little Pig leaves it for her. Spotting some fresh, yellow hay, Little Pig reasons that this would also make a lovely gift, but a cow has already claimed it for her bed. He is similarly challenged by a hen when he spies some crunchy seeds and by the farmer’s wife when he tries to take some of her rich soil for a mud pie. His generosity is rewarded, however, just as he decides that maybe he will have to return empty-handed. Accepting gifts from each of the grateful farm inhabitants, Little Pig enters the pig pen and begins to prepare a breakfast of fresh bread, eggs, milk, and honey, which turns out to be the perfect birthday gift after all. A bright palette of colors gives the simple illustrations vibrancy. Young readers will delight in the Little Pig’s quest and his generous spirit. Sometimes the best gift of all is right under one’s nose—or snout. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-47040-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2003

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF

In this entry in the Growing Tree series, the publisher copyrights the text, while Carpenter provides illustrations for the story; here, the three billy goats named Gruff play on a nasty troll’s greed to get where the grass is greenest. Logic has never been the long suit of this tale: Instead of letting the two smaller billy goats be terrorized by the mean and ugly troll, children wonder, why doesn’t the biggest billy goat step in sooner? It’s still a good introduction to comparatives, and the repetitiveness of the story invites participation. The artwork matches the story: The characters are suitably menacing, quivering, or stalwart, and the perspectives allow readers to be right there in the thick of the action. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-694-01033-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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