THE SKULL TALKS BACK

AND OTHER HAUNTING TALES

A talking mule, a talking skull, a witch who slips her skin, and a man so powerful that he’s not admitted to heaven or hell star in this appealing but flawed companion to What’s The Hurry, Fox? and Other Animal Stories (p. 331), illustrated by Bryan Collier. Jenkins’s semi-abstract, black-and-white scenes of ghosts and bones add eerie atmosphere to the six folktales; Thomas has recast Hurston’s original, thick dialect into a modern idiom, while nicely preserving that country flavor: “No, Pa, that mule’s done gone to talking, I tell you. I ain’t going.” But some of the stories are only fragments, and the collection as a whole is jumbled; a boaster named High Walker dies in one tale, but isn’t introduced until a later one, and Thomas’s introduction has, oddly, been placed at the end. Hurston’s work merits a less clumsy introduction to young readers, and Mary Lyon’s Raw Head, Bloody Bones (1991) is only one of many similar folktale gatherings with a higher chill factor. (Folktales. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-000631-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more