CHESS!

I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!

Sumac School second-grader Richard and pesky rival Patrick from Gotcha! (2006) return with the rest of Mrs. Zookey’s class. Patrick seems to have learned little; he still glories in causing problems and puffing himself up by telling lies. Many of the students have joined Mr. Economopoulos’s after-school chess club (the kids call the prestidigitating assistant principal “Mr. E”). As they prepare for their first tournament against the other elementary schools in the area, Richard struggles with a lack of confidence and a fear that he’s too much like irritating Patrick in his lack of concentration. The team, including Patrick, pull together and perform well with the promise of future victories. The fifth volume in Gilson’s Kids at Table Two series offers more of the same: light fare for the transition out of easy readers. Though the emotions are genuine, the characters are stiff. Mostly for fans of the series and as a read-aloud to classes learning to play chess. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 17, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-618-97790-1

Page Count: 106

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY

This fervent but sketchy tribute to the world’s best known living athlete gives young readers stylized, spray-painted views of a comic book–style superhero with hugely exaggerated muscles and, generally, an open mouth, paired to eye-glazing captions. “As a boy, he struggled to make his way in the segregated world of the PRE-CIVIL RIGHTS SOUTH.” Shange makes a case for dubbing Ali a “hero for all time,” but aside from a later quote of the subtitle, she mentions his way with rhyme only as a boy, and ends her account of his boxing career with 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle,” seven years before his last fight. The appended chronology addresses that lack, but skips from 1981 to 1996, and refers to his Parkinson’s Disease without explaining what it is—or its probable cause. Next to the strong prose and evocative art of Walter Dean Myers’s Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins (2000), or the grandeur of Doreen Rappaport’s Martin’s Big Words, illustrated by Brian Collier (2001), this portrait of a widely admired African-American comes off as more strident than inspirational. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7868-0554-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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