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LITTLE RED CONQUERS HER FEAR OF STORMS

Families looking for ways to converse about safety practices may find this a useful resource.

Oldham and Schaller (Little Red Conquers Her Fear of Flying, 2014) bring their heroine back to promote storm safety in their second picture book.

Little Red is a 9-year-old with plenty of spunk but a fear of storms. When the family dog, McDogall, hides under a table, Red and her brother Ian are spurred to action and start looking for supplies, such as flashlights. When a thunderclap interrupts their search, they run to their mother, pictured washing dishes. (Neither Red nor the authors point out that dishwashing, showering, and other chores that use water should wait until after a storm.) The mother, “as calm as a sunny summer day,” reminds the kids of safety tips that they received from a meteorologist at school. Red realizes that when she feels prepared, she no longer feels scared. Young readers will identify with Red and admire her bravery; Mom’s calm, and the well-lit, uncredited illustrations (with minimal storm imagery), should comfort readers with similar fears. The bright color choices for Red’s hair and clothing are particularly appealing. At the end, storm safety tips from “Our Meteorologist” offer a starting point for home preparations; a glossary covers science terms, including a few that aren’t mentioned in the story itself.

Families looking for ways to converse about safety practices may find this a useful resource.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4808-5756-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

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TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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