THE HISTORY OF HELPLESS HARRY

TO WHICH IS ADDED A VARIETY OF AMUSING AND ENTERTAINING ADVENTURES

A literary conceit, mocking the conventions and sentiments of old-time fiction, has precious little chance with youngsters of nine or so. But this one self-destructs in the first couple of pages—when we're asked to think of eleven-year-old Harry, child of overprotective parents, as a "small boy" whose "soft eyes and appealing mouth" have caused him to be taken as helpless. And throughout the ensuing events, he hasn't indeed a clue to what we, the readers, know: that Miss Annie Trowbridge, the minister's 15-year-old ward who's taking care of him in his parents' absence, is really married to Mr. Nicholas Pym (whom she introduces as her half-brother); that she laughed at a proposal from fat Constable Narbut, so he's out for revenge; that his parents told a fellow-passenger, Mr. Jeremiah Skatch, seller of uplifting tracts, about the strongbox they left behind in Miss T.'s care, so he's out to get the box and lay the blame on Miss T. Harry just resents Miss T. (because his parents went off); is taken in by Mr. S. (because he calls him "brave, bold," etc.); and never does get straightened out until the last pages. . . of a book that's mostly making fun of itself (and not a little of poor Harry). A dubious undertaking not very well executed.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1981

ISBN: 0688053033

Page Count: 179

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1981

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality.

WHAT IF...

A testament to the power of an imaginative mind.

A compulsively creative, unnamed, brown-skinned little girl with purple hair wonders what she would do if the pencil she uses “to create…stories that come from my heart” disappeared. Turns out, it wouldn’t matter. Art can take many forms. She can fold paper (origami), carve wood, tear wallpaper to create texture designs, and draw in the dirt. She can even craft art with light and darkness or singing and dancing. At the story’s climax, her unencumbered imagination explodes beyond the page into a foldout spread, enabling readers both literally and figuratively to see into her fantasy life. While readers will find much to love in the exuberant rhyming verse, attending closely to the illustrations brings its own rewards given the fascinating combinations of mixed media Curato employs. For instance, an impressively colorful dragon is made up of different leaves that have been photographed in every color phase from green to deep red, including the dragon’s breath (made from the brilliant orange leaves of a Japanese maple) and its nose and scales (created by the fan-shaped, butter-colored leaves of a gingko). Sugar cubes, flower petals, sand, paper bags, marbles, sequins, and lots more add to and compose these brilliant, fantasy-sparking illustrations.

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39096-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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