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 uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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