Worthy as a gift or a replacement for battered old copies of the originals.

ASTRID LINDGREN'S TOMTEN TALES

THE TOMTEN AND THE TOMTEN AND THE FOX

A fresh edition of two classic tales featuring an old farm and its small, red-capped protector.

The two episodes—adapted by Lindgren from old poems and first published in English in the 1960s—are neatly packaged together here with their original folksy illustrations. Both are a bit discomfiting. Never seen by human residents but leaving telltale tracks in the snow, in the first, the Tomten makes nightly rounds of the farm, peeping in on the drowsing animals and also the (white) parents and children asleep in their farmhouse bedrooms. To each he speaks “in tomten language,” offering comforting verses to the animals but ruing the fact that the humans never notice him. In the second, a marauding fox is diverted at the last moment by the Tomten’s timely arrival and offer to share a nightly bowl of porridge so long as the hens are left alone: “ ‘We’ll see,’ says the fox cunningly, ‘but thank you anyway.’ ” Wiberg’s moonlit snowscapes and cozy rustic interior scenes offer aptly atmospheric visuals for the narratives, which have long been favorite read-alouds for their murmurous language and (putatively) comforting portrayal of an invisible, benevolent nighttime guardian.

Worthy as a gift or a replacement for battered old copies of the originals. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78250-461-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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