This adaptation is uneven, fluctuating between clever—the story’s title—and pedestrian—the tale itself. (Picture book. 5-9)

RATTLESTILTSKIN

Kimmel’s Southwestern take on “Rumpelstiltskin” kicks off when the protagonist’s mother brags of her gifted daughter to all her friends.

The richest man in town, Don Ignacio, overhears that Rosalia’s tortillas “are so light, they float like clouds” and orders her to whip up a batch. Green, goblinlike Rattlestiltskin pops out of the oven and proposes a deal: she will get light-as-air tortillas in return for anything he asks. Instead of taking this opportunity to further digress from Grimm and empower his protagonist, Kimmel reinforces gender-specific stereotypes. Don Ignacio offers Rosalia the job of making tortillas for him and his friends for the rest of her life while living in his hacienda and wearing pretty clothes; she eagerly accepts. Rattlestiltskin ruins this questionably idyllic situation by demanding his due: servitude to Rattlestiltskin. Making yet another ill-advised decision, Rosalia takes off across the desert, with no hat or water, to avoid her fate. The story’s language is lackluster, and too many of the Spanish phrases are awkwardly or inappropriately used. For instance, “¡Aguas!” (“watch out”) is used incorrectly as a threat, not as a warning of imminent danger. As for Camarca’s colored-pencil illustrations, with the exception of Rattlestiltskin and his snazzy outfit, the female characters and scenery have a coloring-book quality, detracting from rather than enhancing the narrative.

This adaptation is uneven, fluctuating between clever—the story’s title—and pedestrian—the tale itself. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943328-38-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: WestWinds Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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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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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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