An em-paw-ering read for young pups.

MIGHTY READER AND THE BIG FREEZE

Learning to read isn’t so scary when Mighty Reader’s around.

Shy, new student Hugo—a brown puppy with black ears—searches for a friend on the bus. He ends up in an open seat next to bulldog Barkley, who’s reading a book about a superhero named Mighty Reader. When the canine students get to school, substitute teacher Ms. Wulff (a wolf, naturally) prepares the students for an author visit—from Will Hillenbrand. When Ms. Wulff asks Barkley to read the visiting author’s latest book, Spring Is Here (a real book from 2011), Barkley freezes. Sensing distress, Hugo heads to the dress-up center and secretly dons a Mighty Reader costume. As Mighty Reader, Hugo offers Barkley encouraging advice: “Look for words you know,” or “Think about what is happening in the pictures.” Barkley regains confidence and finishes the read-aloud just as Hillenbrand (as a schnauzer) introduces his work and artistic process. The comic-book layout, with at most four panels per page, combines minimal narration with speech bubbles. Hillenbrand’s expressive canine cartoons, boldly outlined in black against solid-color backgrounds, practically jump off the page. Some sentences are on the complex side, but the strong picture-to-text relationship will aid in decoding. Though the metafictive elements smack of gimmickry and self-promotion, readers may enjoy spotting the covers and pages of Hillenbrand’s other texts within this one.

An em-paw-ering read for young pups. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3992-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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