All that’s missing are the recipes.

A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE

William might live in the land of fairy tales, but he just wants to cook.

More interested in pastries than princesses, William’s tried plying his culinary trade around the fairy-tale kingdom. At the Brick House (run by the Three Pigs), “the menu was too dangerous” (think Pot-o’-Wolf Stew). At Three Bears Bistro, the customers were too picky about the food’s temperature. And his stint at Gingerbread-on-the-Go ended in a footrace with the cookies. Setting out to acquire ingredients to cook from home, he finds a box addressed to Fairy-Tale Headquarters containing apples, beans, and a pumpkin. He decides to spruce up their menu and cooks a delightful dish with each—but Judy at headquarters and the fairy-tale folk who’d ordered the original ingredients for their tales are aghast. After reading the book of fairy tales they send him away with, William rushes back to see what’s happened. Snow White passed out after eating every one of his delicious baked apples, but the prince kissed her awake, so all’s well there. Jack traded the yummy bean soup for the giant’s castle, so that’s ended well also. But what can Cinderella do with a pumpkin pie? It works out happily ever after for everyone, especially William. Klostermann’s triple-twisted tale is a cute concoction that children familiar with the traditional stories will enjoy. Mantle’s bright, cartoon illustrations pair neatly with the text and propel the story with whimsical sight gags and charm to spare. Save a passing giant and a few of the dwarves, all the human or humanoid characters are white (or green).

All that’s missing are the recipes. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93232-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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