THE MAGIC BEADS

When a little girl living in a shelter has to produce something for Show and Tell, she is filled with anxiety until her imagination takes over. Lillian’s tummy flutters with nervous butterflies on her first day of second grade in a new school. Butterflies magnify into grasshoppers when her teacher explains the daily classroom Show and Tell and assigns Fridays to Lillian. As the week advances, the grasshoppers grow into rabbits and then into donkeys and finally into stampeding buffalo as Lillian worries what she’s going to show. She has no toys in the shelter where she’s living with her abused mother until they can afford an apartment. Watching classmates show off spiffy dolls, scooters, Lego spaceships, robots and action figures, Lillian resents her absent abusive father as well as her mother, who can’t afford to buy a new toy. But when Friday arrives, the resilient Lillian relies on her strand of plastic beads and lots of imagination to create the best Show and Tell ever. Simple line-and-watercolor illustrations effectively contrast innocent classroom activities with Lillian’s dark inner fears. A talisman for anxious readers. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-894965-47-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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THE RECESS QUEEN

Positing that bullies only act that way because they’re lonely, O’Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers (“she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, / lollapaloosh ’em, / hammer ’em, slammer ’em, / kitz and kajammer ’em . . .”), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, “How DID you get to be so bossy?” and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text’s informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue’s engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20637-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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