DUSTY LOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

Lowell and Cecil (Little Red Cowboy Hat, 1997) return to cowboy twists on nursery tales when they take Goldilocks and plunk her down in Montana in this spry retelling of a classic. Hewing to the original fairly closely, Lowell adds a few licks of her own: there’s Dusty Locks, a rapscallion who hasn’t taken a bath for a month of Sundays, and the bears are a family of grizzlies. Dusty raids the bears’ digs after they go for a walk while their beans are cooling. She scarfs the cub’s beans (the others are so spicy or too bland), busts the cub’s stool (by mistake), and takes to the cub’s bed when Papa Bear’s pile of prickly branches and Mama’s featherbed don’t suit her. When she awakens to the three bears staring down at her, she hightails it home and submits to a good washing. She’d never be recognized with her new sweet scent. Lowell trots out a good bunch of expressions—“cross as two sticks” and “no more manners than a pig in a peach orchard”—and the tale sparks with pert humor: When the bears find Dusty Locks sleeping in the cub’s bed, Mama Bear notes, “Smells mighty whiffy in here!” And though the story’s momentum is somewhat on the clunky side, the comedy keeps the wheels turning, as do Cecil’s pictures of goofy bears in cowboy boots and kerchiefs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-5862-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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