Riveting reading, well-timed for the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking.

HEROES OF THE SURF

Based on a true story of shipwreck and rescue, Carbone’s tale is leavened with narration by Anthony, a venturesome lad whose penchant for playing pirates helps him through the harrowing event.

It’s 1882, and the steamship Pliny, bound for New York City from Brazil, founders in a storm off New Jersey. Anthony and his friend Pedro run onto the deck to gauge whether New York is near. Instead, they face life-threatening conditions, as towering waves splinter lifeboats and the engines die. In the gray dawn, the boys see land, men and—a cannon. Before there’s much time to ponder pirates, a rescue line is launched from shore to ship, followed by the breeches buoy: “It comes swinging toward us hanging from the rope: a life preserver with a pair of short pants attached.” One by one, passengers are hauled along the line to safety ashore at Deal Beach. Carbone’s text conveys a compelling “you are there” tone as Anthony prepares to ride the breeches buoy: “I swing out into open space. Below me, waves crash and twist like angry snakes. Will the ropes hold?” Carpenter’s pictures beautifully capture both historical detail and the event’s inherent drama. A seagoing palette of blue, gray, brown and ochre, crosshatched in black, thoroughly suits the period.

Riveting reading, well-timed for the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking. (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-06312-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A delightful new series gets off to a charming start.

CORNBREAD & POPPY

From the Cornbread and Poppy series , Vol. 1

Two mouse best friends approach life differently.

Cornbread’s an organized, detail-oriented planner; he gathered his winter food supplies and stocked his shelves in advance: No risk taker, he. Not so pal Poppy. She’s always busy biking, hiking, and having adventures. “Nah, I’ll do it later,” is her motto. Unfortunately, she realizes too late that “later” has arrived and she’s got nothing put by. After searching, she and Cornbread discover there’s no food left anywhere. The only solution, Poppy concludes, is to forage on Holler Mountain, a dreaded place where no one dares venture. Cornbread doesn’t want Poppy to make the fearsome trek alone, so they bravely climb together. The terrified pair have some very unexpected encounters, including with a long-presumed-gone friend, who happens to possess a vast supply of food, which she generously shares with Poppy. When they arrive home, Cornbread’s perspectives on fun have changed! This cute, easy chapter book is a gently humorous tale about steadfast friends with opposite personalities. The bond between the murine buddies is sweet and convincing, and children will enjoy the friends’ lively exploits. Cordell’s trademark loose artwork, rendered in pen and ink with watercolor, is energetic and wonderfully captures gray Cornbread’s and tan Poppy’s activities, easy camaraderie, and expressive faces. Many illustrations appear as panels and insets. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A delightful new series gets off to a charming start. (Early chapter book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5487-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A sweet, if oft-told, story.

LITTLE BLUE BUNNY

A plush toy rabbit bonds with a boy and watches him grow into adulthood.

The boy receives the blue bunny for his birthday and immediately becomes attached to it. Unbeknownst to him, the ungendered bunny is sentient; it engages in dialogue with fellow toys, giving readers insight into its thoughts. The bunny's goal is to have grand adventures when the boy grows up and no longer needs its company. The boy spends many years playing imaginatively with the bunny, holding it close during both joyous and sorrowful times and taking it along on family trips. As a young man, he marries, starts a family, and hands over the beloved toy to his toddler-aged child in a crib. The bunny's epiphany—that he does not need to wait for great adventures since all his dreams have already come true in the boy's company—is explicitly stated in the lengthy text, which is in many ways similar to The Velveteen Rabbit (1922). The illustrations, which look hand-painted but were digitally created, are moderately sentimental with an impressionistic dreaminess (one illustration even includes a bunny-shaped cloud in the sky) and a warm glow throughout. The depiction of a teenage male openly displaying his emotions—hugging his beloved childhood toy for example—is refreshing. All human characters present as White expect for one of the boy’s friends who is Black.

A sweet, if oft-told, story. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-448-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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