SCHOOL LUNCH

A marvelously cute and clever look at school lunches features Harriet, the school cook who is tired out from trying to please all the kids, so she takes a vacation. However, things are not a vacation back at Lincoln School, where Mr. Fitz, the principal, hires one substitute chef after another. This one cooks only greasy foods, that one’s food is too rich and fattening, a third found another job and the final one was a witch who served biting cupcakes. The teachers are not any better when their turns come to cook. Throughout, the students send Harriet letters and pictures they have drawn telling her about the cooks and the awful food. But all their pleas fail to roust Harriet from her tropical paradise until a telegram arrives saying the kids are not healthy. This sends her scrambling back to the school, where she arrives in the nick of time. Kelley’s illustrations are truly a stitch—the facial expressions are right-on, and the students’ drawings of their new lunches are hysterical. Unfortunately, the cover does not do the interior justice. It’s hard to say whether this will turn readers on or off school lunches, but worth a laugh nonetheless. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-8234-1894-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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