Cramped page design aside, an appealing first exposure for younger readers that highlights the story’s comedy over its...

THE MISADVENTURES OF DON QUIXOTE

An abbreviated version of the best-ever cautionary tale about the hazards of reading too much (among other things), played for laughs and matched to comical caricatures for illustrations.

Lathrop covers a select few of the original’s high spots in his plainly told paraphrase. Looking hilariously lanky and cross-eyed in Davis’ loosely drawn and colored cartoons, the bookish Don sets out in too-small armor to seek knightly glory. He chooses an oblivious peasant girl as his Dulcinea (“because dulce means ‘sweet’ in Spanish,” the reteller helpfully notes) and mounts Rocinante (“rocín means ‘old nag,’ and ante means ‘before,’ signifying that his horse used to be an old nag but wasn’t one anymore”). With his wise fool neighbor, Sancho Panza, as witness, he charges off to battle a windmill, a herd of sheep, a hapless wineskin and a cage of sleepy lions. Though buck-toothed and dopey of aspect, Sancho Panza gets his own chance to shine as he earns a bag of gold escudos judging several legal cases before Quixote is at last unhorsed by a concerned friend and agrees to take a year off from questing.

Cramped page design aside, an appealing first exposure for younger readers that highlights the story’s comedy over its satire and sentiment. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-94256658-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: LinguaText

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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