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SIDEWALK STORIES STARTERS

TODAY IS THE DAY

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

Awards & Accolades

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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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TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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