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SLUGGERS’ CAR WASH

One of life’s little skills—making change—gets an airing in yet another elementary math story from the indefatigable Murphy (see above, etc.). The Sluggers are desperately in need of new T-shirts for their upcoming championship game. They decide upon the time-honored car-wash route; the crux of this lesson in adding and subtracting is in making correct change—which, of course, brings the decimal into play as well. They charge $3.50 for each washing, then contend with the many variations of change-making: “The driver gave CJ a ten-dollar bill. CJ counted. ‘Hmm, 3 dollars and 50 cents plus 2 quarters makes 4 dollars, plus 1 dollar makes 5 dollars, plus 5 dollars makes 10 dollars.’ He gave her back 6 dollars and 2 quarters.” On the afternoon goes in an air of jollity—Saltzberg (Hip, Hip, Hooray, Day, p. 264, etc.) keeps the mood light with his simple, gingery artwork—with CJ toting the lucre on his clipboard. As Murphy’s notes at the end suggest, lots of math/money games can be spun off from this story and the basic ability to make correct change (one that seems to have escaped many store clerks) can start on the road to becoming second nature. (short bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-028920-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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RUSSELL THE SHEEP

Scotton makes a stylish debut with this tale of a sleepless sheep—depicted as a blocky, pop-eyed, very soft-looking woolly with a skinny striped nightcap of unusual length—trying everything, from stripping down to his spotted shorts to counting all six hundred million billion and ten stars, twice, in an effort to doze off. Not even counting sheep . . . well, actually, that does work, once he counts himself. Dawn finds him tucked beneath a rather-too-small quilt while the rest of his flock rises to bathe, brush and riffle through the Daily Bleat. Russell doesn’t have quite the big personality of Ian Falconer’s Olivia, but more sophisticated fans of the precocious piglet will find in this art the same sort of daffy urbanity. Quite a contrast to the usual run of ovine-driven snoozers, like Phyllis Root’s Ten Sleepy Sheep, illustrated by Susan Gaber (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-059848-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A TAIL LIKE THIS?

Not only does Jenkins (Life on Earth, 2002, etc.) again display a genius for creating paper-collage wildlife portraits with astonishingly realistic skin, fur, and feathers, but here on alternate spreads he zooms in for equally lifelike close-ups of ears, eyes, noses, mouths, feet, and tails. Five examples of each organ thrusting in from beyond the pages’ edges for each “What do you do” question precede spreads in which the point of view pulls back to show the whole animal, with a short accompanying caption. Visual surprises abound: a field cricket’s ears are actually on its legs; a horned lizard can (and does, here) squirt blood from its eyes as a defense mechanism; in an ingenious use of page design, a five-lined skink’s breakable tail enters and leaves the center gutter at different points. Capped by a systematic appendix furnishing more, and often arresting, details—“A humpback whale can be 50 feet long and weigh a ton per foot”—this array of wide eyes and open mouths will definitely have viewers responding with wide eyes and open mouths of their own. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 24, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-25628-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2003

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