SLOW DOWN FOR MANATEES

A pregnant Florida manatee, accidentally injured by a passing motorboat, is rescued and rehabilitated in a tank on land, where she gives birth before both are released back into their canal home. This straightforward account is gently told. No fault is implied; indeed, in an afterword, Arnosky stresses that boaters are usually quite careful, but accidents do happen. His pastel acrylic paintings stretch across the gutters, set off from the text by a wavy ribbon of color implying the separation of the manatee’s watery world. On the text side, tiny insets offer other scenes from the manatee’s natural environment. A few double-page spreads add emphasis and variety: the drifting wounded manatee, two night views with the baby and, finally, the pair returning to their home, where a new sign says “Slow down! Manatees.” Though fiction, the story was inspired by an actual event, and the author’s customary attention to environmental detail makes it an excellent companion to his All About Manatees (2007) and A Manatee Morning (2000). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-24170-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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POPPLETON

The first book in a proposed series of easy readers from the usually reliable Rylant (The Bookshop Dog, p. 1055) is an unqualified flop. Poppleton, dressed in coat, tie, and bowler, tires of city life and moves to a small town. Three stories follow that require neither a small-town setting nor a recent move. In the first, ``Neighbors,'' the limits of friendship are excessively defined when Cherry Sue invites Poppleton over too often, and he sprays her with the garden hose (instead of simply turning down the invitation) in his frustration over the situation. ``The Library'' shows how serious Poppleton is about his library day- -every Monday—as he sits at a table, spreads out his belongings, and reads an adventure. In ``The Pill,'' a sick friend who needs medicine asks Poppleton to disguise his pill in one of the many pieces of cake he consumes, recalling the tale in which Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad try to make some cookies inaccessible, but cannot thwart their own appetites. The stories are unimaginative and poorly plotted, without the taut language and endearing humor of Rylant's Henry and Mudge tales or her Mr. Putter and Tabby books. Teague's scenes of a small town are charming but have no real story in which to take root, and the book is printed on cardboard-weight stock that all but overwhelms the format. (Fiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-84782-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1996

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