FIRST GRADERS FROM MARS

EPISODE 1: HORUS’S HORRIBLE DAY

Horus wears jeans, a striped shirt, and a backpack like any other first grader, but he travels to school in a flying cup (flying saucers are so last century), because his school is on Mars. The students are different types of Martians: some green, some blue, some polka-dotted—and all funny. Corey, who made an auspicious debut with You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! (2000), offers Episode 1 of the First Graders from Mars series, which describes Horus’s reluctance to leave his martiangarten days behind to move on to first grade. He slurps his soup with the wrong tentacle, tangles with an overly confident Martian girl named Tera, and lands in the Beta reading group (rather than the Alpha group with nemesis Tera). Corey works some simple Martian-style language and clever puns into her story: the Martian kids sit in thinking capsules instead of desks, and the floating, polka-dotted teacher has eyes in the front and back of her head, and on both sides, too. Additional layers of punny humor enhance the full-color, cartoon-style illustrations by Teague (The Great Gracie Chase, p. 188, etc.) who finds something clever to add on every page. Horus has the real fears of any entering first grader, and this story will be popular with kindergarten and first-grade teachers and students, who will be waiting for Episode 2. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-26220-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            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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