On Monday, his dog eats the peanut butter and jelly off his homework…and his homework, too. He has to redo it and miss...

PEANUT BUTTER AND HOMEWORK SANDWICHES

When a beloved teacher is replaced by a substitute for the week, Martin lives out every homework excuse in the book.

On Monday, his dog eats the peanut butter and jelly off his homework…and his homework, too. He has to redo it and miss recess. On Tuesday, it goes through the wash. He writes lines and misses recess. By this time, readers will be wondering what other tragedy will befall the unlucky Martin. On Thursday, he grabs the wrong backpack and has a dolly instead of his homework. That night, his dad suggests that the morose Martin think of something interesting to research on the computer as a cure for the boring homework blues. But on Friday, his homework woes continue when a gust of wind snatches his definitions. The following Monday, Martin drags himself into the classroom prepared for something to have happened to his homework once again. But to his surprise, his teacher is back with a homework assignment that is right up Martin’s alley. Davis’ toothy cartoon characters are wonderfully expressive, especially the hapless Martin. The bright colors and humorous situations are certain to keep readers’ attention as they try to guess what could possibly happen to Martin next.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-24533-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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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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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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