WHEN RUBY TRIED TO GROW CANDY

What kid wouldn’t love the idea of growing candy? When Ruby’s weird and mysterious neighbor, Miss Wysterious, tells her she can grow anything she likes, Ruby immediately says, “Candy!” “Jumping jelly beans,” says Miss Wysterious, “I love candy!” and gives her a handful to plant. Ruby plants lemon sours, gumdrops and butterscotch; she waters and waters and voilà—up sprouts oodles of candy. Though the idea is amusing, the odd illustrations are far less intriguing. Paper cutouts of Ruby and Miss Wysterious are imposed against blurry photographic backgrounds. The combination appears mismatched and lacks charm, though some details are fun: Miss Mysterious wears frog boots and grows teacups, egg beaters and playing cards; the candy collage is photo-realistic. Ruby may have a sweet tooth and a green thumb, but unfortunately the result is less appealing than either. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84015-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2007

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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