An engrossing episode, infused with magic and with moments light and dark as well as lots of small furry animals.

THE MIDSUMMER TOMTE AND THE LITTLE RABBITS

A DAY-BY-DAY SUMMER STORY IN TWENTY-ONE SHORT CHAPTERS

The gruff but large-hearted Scandinavian gnome usually associated with Yuletide takes an offseason turn when a summer storm brings a company of homeless woodland creatures to his door.

Faithfully tending to a cottage that has had no human residents for many years, the aptly named Grump faces the prospect of losing his sole companion, a wise bee met in The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits (2014). Meanwhile, along with talk of the coming of midsummer in the tumultuous Rabbit clan, young Binny is smitten with newly met Rory—portrayed in Eriksson’s cozy, slightly soft-focus illustrations as a bunny with significantly darker fur than Binny’s and her family’s. The idyllic opening scenes take on a dramatic cast with the wild storm, into which Rory intrepidly slogs to rescue Father Rabbit’s prized hat. A falling tree leaves Rory at death’s door, but he recovers in time to join in a joyous midsummer frolic around a maypole and, with the red-capped tomte presiding, be married to Binny. In a series of sweet closing chapters, Grump’s grumpiness is forever banished by a midsummer’s dance with a fairy, and by summer’s end there’s a pair of new little bunnies to dandle on his knees. Stark’s simple, dreamy prose and the idyllic gatherings centering on the kindly tomte seamlessly combine to create a superb candidate for reading aloud.

An engrossing episode, infused with magic and with moments light and dark as well as lots of small furry animals. (Illustrated fantasy. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78250-244-9

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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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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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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