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PROBABLY PISTACHIO

Jack is having a bad Monday morning in this MathStart (Level two) title, which painlessly slides probability into the story. Jack’s late for school; his dad is fixing lunch, which means he may get something he doesn’t like; and he gets milk all over his math homework. Finding out lunch is tuna fish (which he hates), Jack dreams of trading with Emma, a girl in his class who had pastrami four days last week (Jack’s favorite). He trades sandwiches with Emma without asking, and gets liverwurst, something even worse than tuna. Then he is off to after-school soccer, where he tries to decide where to stand in line so that he and his friend will be on the same team. Jack figures, based on past sessions, the coach will probably have them count off by twos, but again he is fooled as the coach has them count off by threes. Other probability opportunities include which snack hew will get, what’s for dinner, and what’s for dessert. The day ends pleasantly as Jack’s mother brings his favorite pistachio ice cream. The author includes an afterword with questions for adults and kids to reinforce the concept of probability. He also suggests games and activities to extend the concept. Colorful pencil and watercolor illustrations show an appealing group of interracial young children, parents, and teachers. Children will enjoy the story whether or not it helps their understanding of probability. The popular author of other MathStart titles (Missing Mittens, see above, etc.) will find a ready audience for this effort. (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028028-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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RALPH TELLS A STORY

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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