Marisol’s varied, distinctive lifestyle and multiracial family affirms our increasingly blended society and clearly...

MARISOL MCDONALD DOESN'T MATCH / MARISOL MCDONALD NO COMBINA

A little girl celebrates her multiracial background and pride in her individuality through a creative and non-conformist attitude.

Marisol McDonald loves her fire-red hair and her brown, freckled skin, feels artistic pleasure in pairing polka-dotted shirts with striped pants and enjoys eating PB&J burritos. Misunderstood by her peers, she is continually teased for not ever matching until one day, confidence diminished, Marisol decides to conform and arrives at school in the same-colored clothes, chooses pirates over soccer rather than playing both simultaneously and eats a peanut butter/jelly sandwich on mushy bread. Bored and unhappy, Marisol is delighted when her teacher gives her a note that boosts her self-esteem with this very positive message: “the Marisol McDonald that I know is a creative, unique, bilingual, Peruvian-Scottish-American, soccer-playing artist and simply marvelous!” Double-page illustrations in assorted media match Marisol’s eclectic style and include everything from childlike crayon-and-pencil drawings to more sophisticated cartoon art that combines paint and newsprint collage. The bilingual, first-person story works well in both English and Spanish despite, as explained in an editor’s note, the difficulty of finding the most appropriate Spanish term for the title’s English phrase.

Marisol’s varied, distinctive lifestyle and multiracial family affirms our increasingly blended society and clearly celebrates independent thinking. Brava! (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-89239-235-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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