GOONEY THE FABULOUS

If Aesop met Gooney Bird Greene, what would result? Fabulous fables, of course. In her third appearance, Gooney Bird instigates a fun class project when her second-grade teacher reads them Aesop’s fables. Each student chooses an animal whose name begins with the first letter of his or her first name and then writes a fable about it. Personalities are revealed in each report along with home experiences and insecurities: Malcolm has baby triplets at home and repeats everything three times; Tyrone raps; Felicia Ann lisps. A black-and-white drawing in each of the 13 chapters offers bits of visual interest. Gooney’s outlandish outfits, take-charge (even bossy) attitude and boisterous spirit continue to be humorously likable—and fabulous. No doubt there’ll be a fourth; meanwhile, this one offers a clever writing exercise for a class. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 30, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-76691-X

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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