Well-intended but poorly executed, this book may fill a gap on a community-helpers shelf but it’s not likely to foster a...

LIBRARIAN

From the Busy People series

A librarian takes a boy named Evan on a tour of a library.

George introduces readers to the library via Rita the librarian, who shows reluctant-reader Evan all of the services and activities of the library, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a party. Spotting Evan, Rita invites him to join storytime (which ends with cake), and then she conducts a brief reference interview, learning that he likes rocket ships. Bingo! Rita finds Evan a few books about space and helps him with the self-checkout machine. It’s not a particularly thrilling narrative, and the illustrations do not compensate. The flat cartoon style is reminiscent of 1950s-era primers, and the library depicted is angular and sterile, for all of Rita’s smiling welcome. The characters are likewise flat, though Rita has a contemporary look, sporting dangling earrings and purple nail polish. Rita is Asian, Evan is white, and the other users of the library represent a diversity of racial backgrounds. Backmatter summarizes Rita’s tasks (putting books away, ordering new ones, helping people with computers, and finding books for users) and tools as well as “some of the other busy people librarians work with” and classroom activities. In the end, the book cannot rise above its pedantic goal.

Well-intended but poorly executed, this book may fill a gap on a community-helpers shelf but it’s not likely to foster a love of reading or libraries on its own. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-135-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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