While Andersen’s imaginative story, first published in 1835, keeps children listening or reading, this edition adds nothing...

THUMBELINA

The adventures of a tiny girl amid flora and fauna in an imaginary land are again presented for young readers.

The text is acceptably adapted and accessible, but the illustrations, thickly textured and deeply colored, are leaden and rely on fashion rather than magic for their distinctiveness. The illustrator veers back and forth distractingly in her depiction of clothing, from the traditional 19th-century peasant dress with apron and kerchief of the field mouse to the 1920s look of the three female June bugs (cockchafers in some versions) who declare Thumbelina’s utter unsuitability as a mate for the big June bug who tries to capture her. The ugly toad who first steals her from her walnut-shell bed for her own son (shown in denim overalls) wears a frumpy pink polka-dot dress of no particular vintage. The haughty mole who wants to marry the girl wears a red fez and a fur-trimmed jacket to portray his wealth. Thumbelina wears simple white dresses, symbolizing her purity, but there is a lack of the magical lightness necessary to the tale. Even the double-page spread of the wedding scene when Thumbelina, with her large, Margaret Keane–like eyes, finally finds a suitable mate of just the right height, seems heavy and contrived.

While Andersen’s imaginative story, first published in 1835, keeps children listening or reading, this edition adds nothing new or special to a long literary history. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927018-73-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more