A humorous tale woven from strands of Persian culture.

BAHAR, THE LUCKY

Bahar, a young Persian girl, supports her mother and siblings by selling her rugs at the Grand Bazaar of Kashan.

One day Bahar is bathing at the hammam when she sees the chief fortuneteller’s wife walk in, “proud as a camel.” Imagining herself “wrapped in…riches of a fortune teller,” Bahar decides her weaving days are over and that her fortunetelling will rescue her family from poverty. Soon she is tasked with finding the king’s cat, and the mayor demands she find where the 40 thieves hid the king’s crown. If she doesn’t, she will be punished. Soon Bahar “misse[s] the peace and safety of weaving her rugs,” yet in humorous and improbable ways she is able to solve each task—but not without attracting the king’s attention as well as that of the jealous fortuneteller and his wife. With the help of happenstance and an “old Iranian proverb” she passes the last test and cements her lucky status. Kheiriyeh’s smudgy, stylized depictions of Bahar capture her happiness while weaving and her determination to be a great fortuneteller. Her color palette—reddish-orange, blue, and mustard-yellow—blends well together, adding richness to the setting. The noses of the chief fortuneteller and his wife are caricatured to the point of distraction, but the device does aid in their characterization.

A humorous tale woven from strands of Persian culture. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6907-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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