SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

A good-natured rant against materialism. When Great-aunt Elsie Applebaum drops out of society, she leaves her possessions to a swarm of greedy relatives. No one is satisfied with any part of the legacy, until ``little Tilda-next-door'' gets hold of it. From broad hints dropped in the first few pages, readers will know that Tilda is the only one who understands Elsie and won't be surprised when she fashions the items into a magic traveling machine. Following a series of adventures, Tilda finds her own place in the sun, right next to Great-aunt Elsie. Whitcher (Real Mummies Don't Bleed, 1993, etc.) has poetic sensibility—``The guitar strings thrummed from the rush of flying,'' ``Fingers of fog reached and clung''—that she never overuses. At first the rather staid, even ordinary illustrations seem at odds with the text's rebellious message; soon they give rise to some grand images, especially in the fantastic latter-half of the book. A reunion of the creators of Moonfall (1993, not reviewed), this book builds to a satisfying close. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1995

ISBN: 0-374-37138-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1995

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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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THE DOG THAT DUG FOR DINOSAURS

This easy reader for children reading at the fluency level recounts the story of a girl named Mary Ann Anning and her dog, Tray. They lived on the coast of England in the early 1800s, although the time frame is given only as “a long, long time ago.” Mary Ann and Tray became famous for their discoveries of fossils, including dinosaur bones. They discovered the first pterodactyl found in England, and the name was assigned to their fossil. The story focuses a little too much on the dog, and the title misses a great opportunity to completely acknowledge a girl accomplishing something important in the scientific world, especially in a much earlier era and without formal training or education. Despite this drawback, both Mary Ann and Tray are appealing characters and the discovery of the fossils and subsequent notice from scientists, collectors, and even royalty is appealing and well written. Sullivan’s illustrations provide intriguing period details in costumes, tools, and buildings, as well as a clever front endpaper of fossil-strewn ground covered with muddy paw prints. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85708-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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