OWEN FOOTE, SOCCER STAR

A second grader sees adults making mistakes, and helps one grown-up get it right in this predictable empowerment story, a sequel to Owen Foote, Second Grade Strongman (1996). After persuading overweight friend Joseph to join him for soccer tryouts, Owen has second thoughts: Not only are both of them bad-mouthed by a bully, but the coach, Dave, divides the “Aliens” into two teams according to ability. The members of the B team, including Joseph, rightly wonder if they’ll ever get into a real game. Owen considers quitting; instead, he calls Dave to explain how demoralizing the split is, and also picks up a bully-handling tip from a friendly seventh grader. Though she creates natural-sounding dialogue, and uses language and humor appropriate to her target audience, Greene focuses on Owen’s systematic problem-solving at the expense of plot, character development, even soccer action. By the end, Dave has apologetically reunited the Aliens, the bully is properly chastened, and Joseph turns out to be a natural goalie. With realistic black-and-white drawings to capture some of the action, this is a lightweight, neatly wrapped package of uplift. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 23, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-86143-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1998

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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