Fulfills a need but without a solid story.

SNOW IS FUN

From the I Like To Read series

Some woodland friends explore and enjoy the snow.

This entry in the I Like To Read series uses short sentences, one per spread, with repetitive vocabulary and at most one stretch word. The setup uses cinematic strategies. “Snow falls” shows a tan rabbit near its hole in the base of a tree, two gray mice sharing a hole above it, as flakes fall all around. “Snow is white” pulls back the view to show a third hole, a squirrel just peeking out. “Snow is quiet” sees the rabbit and the mice taking a nap amid the falling snow. Gradually, an owl in a fourth hole and a small bird on a branch are introduced as the snow “blows,” “falls and falls,” and “is heavy.” Finally, on the seventh spread, a rather slim story begins as the weight of the snow breaks the bird’s branch and sends it plummeting. The concerned friends try to help, but the bird rescues itself by flying, and the animals play together: “Snow is fun with friends.” Henry’s illustrations are cartoon-cute, but the picture clues may not be enough for readers to guess unfamiliar words—the “quiet” and “heavy” pages may be especially opaque. Literacy practice wins out over entertainment value in this early reader; children aren’t likely to reach for it again.

Fulfills a need but without a solid story. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4600-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

ROBOT, GO BOT!

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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