Playing with scale and prompting readers to think big ensures a quick and entertaining tour to awesome sights.

READ REVIEW

HOW BIG COULD YOUR PUMPKIN GROW?

Minor focuses his attention on the symbolic gourd of fall, juxtaposing national landmarks or record-setting structures with visions of impossibly enormous pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns.

The title poses a tantalizing question that leads gracefully from the real to the surreal. What follows in each full-bleed spread is a famous site—man-made or natural—painted with watercolor and gouache that majestically captures the impressiveness of the place. He includes in these illustrations an image of a wildly oversized pumpkin. It’s a quirky notion, and it kind of works. Few children would seek out a book on important places to see across the United States. A better bet is a title like this one, which imparts that information while also making them laugh at the sheer humor in the pictures. One image shows the highest roller coaster feeding into the open mouth of a fierce-looking jack-o’-lantern. Another pumpkin innocently stops traffic when it is placed in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. Yet another smiles up close as a rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral. From Connecticut to California, 14 places are featured. More information about them is provided at the end of the book.

Playing with scale and prompting readers to think big ensures a quick and entertaining tour to awesome sights. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-24684-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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