A riotous romp, with appealingly quirky creatures.

THE EMU THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGG

When some Down Under desperadoes birdnap a voracious emu, they get more than they bargained for.

A flock of wild emus moves into town, eating pretty much everything in sight. Emma emu finds some kernels of corn in a creek and gobbles them up, but they give her a stomachache. She lies down to sleep, and when she awakens the next morning, she’s famished...and sitting on the shiniest and biggest egg she’s ever seen. She figures she must have laid it the night before. She goes looking for food, and two rotten possum scoundrels called Pongo Pete and Nasty Ned sneak up on the egg. Mighty hungry themselves, they first plan to eat it, but then they decide instead to kidnap Emma, figuring she can lay them a bunch of golden eggs. They take her to their hideout, where she voraciously chews whatever she can get her beak on—cushions, chandeliers, shoes and more. In a single thrashing move, she escapes! But left behind is an array of giant eggs, one of glass, another of brass, and silk and leather ones as well. Morrison’s offbeat adventure is told in vigorous verse, ably abetted by McKenzie’s illustrations, which seem to bring Emma’s feathers to ruffled life. Pete and Ned make nicely scruffy foils to Emma’s gawky greed.

A riotous romp, with appealingly quirky creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-921894-00-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Hare/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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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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