This latest Beany adventure (Beany [Not Beanhead] and the Magic Crystal, 1997, etc.) has all the ingredients that made Wojciechowski’s previous tales such rousing successes. Being the flower girl in her favorite cousin’s wedding has the anxiety-ridden Beany in a tizzy. Cousin Amy is the next best thing to a sister for Beany, so despite her many misgivings, Beany is determined to do the job properly. With the wedding several months away, she has plenty of time to ponder the many pitfalls that lurk ahead. In typical Beany-fashion, she worries about what she will wear, walking down the aisle, getting the perfect wedding present, and a multitude of other fears. Yet, Beany is full of pluck and determined to meet her troubles head-on. As always, Wojciechowski’s writing rings true. Beany’s concerns, ruminations, and antics are grounded in reality, revealing an innate understanding of young grade-school readers, who can readily relate to Beany’s keen yet comical observations. “Carol Ann is my best friend because we live on the same street and sit next to each other on the school bus, but sometimes I don’t really like her that much.” There are plenty of mishaps to keep readers laughing, such as Beany’s lemonade enterprise, which endures a hasty demise at the paws of the neighborhood canine menace. Natti’s black-and-white sketches, highlighting Beany’s misadventures, are a comical counterpart to the text. Fans and newcomers alike will be rooting for Wojciechowski’s intrepid heroine as she tackles her anxieties with grit and fortitude. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0924-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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