FLIGHT OF THE DODO

Brown’s debut offers young readers insight into the pleasures of having a dream . . . and going for it. Spurred by the splatter of goose poop on his jacket, Penguin decides that it’s time to take a higher view—and so he gathers a trio of other flightless birds, inspires them to help, and after some unfortunate failures, takes off into the sky beneath a giant rubber balloon. The flight brings everything he and his companions had hoped, from a chance to taste the clouds and to see the world from above, to an opportunity to perfect the technique of “target pooping.” Smoothly modulated colors and odd looking but precisely modeled figures give the airbrushed acrylic illustrations a sophisticated sheen that makes the storyline, and a plethora of visual gags, all the funnier. Whether airily waving a worm sandwich, or frantically signaling (guess how) a group of earthbound geese far below for help when storm clouds suddenly threaten, dapper Penguin exudes a capable air that carries him triumphantly over the rough spots. Children will happily fly with him. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2005

ISBN: 0-316-11038-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME

Mercy is back in this fun third installment of merrymaking, buttered-toast eating, and crime solving. When she’s awakened by the sound of the toaster being dragged across the counter, she discovers a cowboy named Leroy walking off with a sackful of kitchen loot. Exhaustion gets the better of the porcine wonder and she settles down for a nap while Leroy settles down to some serious stealing. When Leroy opens up a butter-barrel candy, our butter-loving heroine wakes and gives Leroy a pig-bronco ride as she searches for the source of the butter smell. Of course, neighbors Eugenia and Baby Lincoln get in on the act and soon the firefighters and Officer Tomilello do too. A snack of toast with a great deal of butter follows for all. Silly crime-solving for the growing number of Mercy’s young fans moving on from easy readers. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2590-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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