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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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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