A school-to-screen fairy tale with little conflict or character development that’s enriched by the eye-catching cartoon...

This wordy debut picture book by Barto features veteran illustrator Cerato’s fantastic illustrations of ducks, chickens and turkeys searching for great new talents.

Young chick Anamazie Marie LaBelle is not just the youngest marching band majorette in Gobbleville history, she’s also a finalist in Gobbleville’s Got Talent. She participates in the finals with the help of her mother, Henrietta Pearl, whose interest in her daughter’s fame is as dramatic as one would expect from a participant on a reality show (and her musical education apparently derived from reality show sources, given her use of terms like “pitchy”). But despite her natural talents, Anamazie loses the competition to Edith Winkmeyer. Luckily, a Gollywood Pictures agent is more impressed with Anamazie’s performance, and she’s whisked off to a screen test. From there, it’s all smooth sailing. Anamazie rehearses her lines, dresses in costumes and learns how to work well with temperamental stars. (Her mother, still full of excitement and eager to interfere, has to be dragged off the sound stage by security roosters.) Of course, the little chicken is a hit, and she’s ready for more adventures by the end of her first movie. Anamazie is a perfect star, and her few flaws are easily forgiven, but it’s hard to imagine her actually striving for anything, despite her earnest statement: “My mom says you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.” The delightful illustrations, which add to the text’s poultry jokes, are sure to appeal to a young, lap-sitting crowd. Newly independent readers may struggle with the length, but the vocabulary is manageable and full of familiar, glamorous, Hollywood-type phrases (“Sweetheart, your co-star is getting his feathers ruffled when you back him out of the shot”).

A school-to-screen fairy tale with little conflict or character development that’s enriched by the eye-catching cartoon illustrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496935090

Page Count: 32

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014


The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007


The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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