JACK AND THE GIANT BARBECUE

A Wild West spin on the classic fairy tale.

Little Jack loves barbecue; he'd ride his pony across the West Texas mountains for a taste of fine ribs. He brings his mother to tears when he asks her to make some for him, and she tells Jack the sad tale of his daddy. He made the finest barbecue for miles around until a mean giant came and stole daddy's recipe book, leaving him so heartbroken that he shriveled up and died. Jack makes a vow on the spot. The next morning, he rides his pony to Mount Pecos and starts his arduous climb. At the top is the giant's barbecue restaurant, all rundown, dirty and busted-up. The giant sits in a back room, eating his fill of barbecue. Daddy's book sits in a slot of a magic jukebox, which is hankering to escape. When the giant falls asleep, Jack makes a quick getaway, riding the jukebox like a stallion. Before long, the giant jerks awake and gives chase in his pickup, across the clouds. He's going so fast that his truck smashes into the mountains, flattening them. It's been that way ever since. And Jack? He opens a restaurant with Ma, where the jukebox happily plays. Mmm! It's a rollicking adaptation, with many amusing tall-tale touches. Manders' illustrations, in gouache and colored pencil, match the energy of the text.

Good fractured fun . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6128-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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