RUSSELL’S SECRET

Hurwitz takes a standard theme—“I don’t want to go to school”—and develops it in an intriguing and merry fashion: It’s not so much that the boy becomes bored, but how he does. Four-year-old Russell, the subject of three earlier Hurwitz books, doesn’t choose to go to preschool one morning and he throws a fit to make his point. Distracted by another crying baby, Russell’s sister Elisa, his mother relents: “If you want to be a baby, you can stay home and be a baby today.” Russell does a little dance of joy, but soon learns the limitations of babyhood. He switches on the tube, then his mother reminds him that babies don’t watch television. He plays with his Legos, until his mother points out that they are a choking hazard for babies. The only kind of food he gets is either taken from a bottle or mashed to a pulp, and naps are everywhere. Russell opts for school before it is too late. The pleasure here, in addition to Maione’s delicate and effective pen-and-wash illustrations, is how neatly Hurwitz skirts any one-upmanship on the part of Russell’s mother. It is simple experience that slips the message to Russell, and it becomes his decision to go to school. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17574-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2001

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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ONE BEAN

PLB 0-8027-8649-9 The simple life cycle of a bean provides a practical and understandable example of scientific observation for budding young naturalists. Starting with a hand shown holding a single bean, readers journey full circle from soaking, planting, and watering, to flowering, harvesting, and eating. Uncluttered three-dimensional artwork complements the short, simple text; each stage of the bean’s transformation from seed to vegetable is shown in large scale, drawn so realistically that the texture of the skin seems to show the strain as the bean gets ready to put down roots. This is an ideal book for classrooms where students can’t resist the temptation to keep “checking” on their bean plants. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8027-8648-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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