A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.

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SIDEWALK STORIES STARTERS

TODAY IS THE DAY

A playful butterfly attempts to take flight in this series picture book.

Bethany Butterfly “loves to sing and flap her butterfly wings,” but hasn’t yet flown. She crosses out days of the week on a calendar to mark her attempts. Monday is too foggy. On Tuesday, Bethany apparently floats down to a pond, using a parasol. It snows on Wednesday. But when will be the day that Bethany soars on her own? This fourth book in Gray’s (Sidewalk Stories: The Lemonade Landing Mat, 2018, etc.) series features a simple, character-building message. In Shannon’s (The Moon Fox, 2019, etc.) sprightly, vivid illustrations, Bethany is blue, wears red sneakers, and has multicolored wings. She lives in a tiny furnished house in an anthropomorphic oak tree named Otis. Other friends include a white boy, a helpful squirrel, and a lounging cactus. Gray’s sunny narrative, composed of short lines of text above full-page illustrations, will keep young readers focused on the message of determination, with a recitation of weekdays as a parallel lesson. Coloring pages and humorous character bios, written as if the story were a performance, further add to the fun. However, an awkward request for readers to “please be part of our success” by contributing online reviews might be rethought in future editions.

A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.

Pub Date: March 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-032421-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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