The poetics of restraint could not be better displayed

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DODSWORTH IN TOKYO

Timing is everything.

Imagine this classic slapstick scene: Two repairmen have to carry a pane of glass across a busy street. Car after car whizzes past and, somehow, swerves around them. The whole scene is about waiting for the glass to break. Egan’s latest Dodsworth book is a lot like that. “We should be on our best behavior here,” Dodsworth tells his duck. He warns the duck not to play ball around priceless vases. He warns the duck not to play with a bottle of ink. “The duck,” the text notes, had always wanted to play with ink.” The duck does not crash into the pottery. The duck doesn’t spill any ink, and a server in a restaurant tells Dodsworth, “Arigato. Your duck is very well behaved.” As in classic slapstick, though, something has to give. At the climax of the story, the duck swings on a rope, springs off an awning and knocks over a tub of goldfish. It’s worth the wait. When the duck bounces across a row of drums, precisely in time to the music, it’s a very satisfying moment. But the scene really works because of what happens next: The duck walks quietly across the courtyard and hands a toy to a little girl. She had thought it was lost forever. That, too, is worth the wait.

The poetics of restraint could not be better displayed . (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-87745-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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