TWIGBOY

Gammell (Is That You, Winter?, 1997, etc.) plays to his artistic strengths in this twiggy, mud- and verdure-spattered friendship tale, but, whether by chance or design, leaves several aspects ambiguous. Given limbs, a tiny face, and a navel, Twigboy (who looks more like a breadstick, but let that pass) comes off as a weird combination of flesh and wood; similarly, his unlikely new buddy Rockwell more resembles a potato than a pebble. The two meet in Weedland; Twigboy escapes insect “Snackerpinchers” when Rockwell bowls past, then in turn drags his rescuer out of a slimy pond. After snacking messily on Granma Twig's Mud Pebble Pie, and almost getting caught in a wild storm, the two fetch up back on the edges of Weedland, where they are left gleefully plotting a spectacular re-match with its unsuspecting denizens. The messy exuberance of Gammell's illustrations is as enjoyable as ever, but the story, which cuts off abruptly and may or may not be all or partly told in flashback, will leave readers floundering. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-202137-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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WATER

``Water is dew. Water is ice and snow.'' No matter what form it takes, seldom has plain old water appeared so colorful as in this rainbow-hued look at rain, dew, snowflakes, clouds, rivers, floods, and seas. Asch celebrates water's many forms with a succinct text and lush paintings done in mostly in softly muted watercolors of aqua, green, rose, blue, and yellow. They look as if they were created with a wet-on-wet technique that makes every hue lightly bleed into its neighbor. Water appears as ribbons of color, one sliding into the other, while objects that are not (in readers' minds) specifically water-like—trees, rocks, roots—are similarly colored. Perhaps the author intends to show water is everything and everything is water, but the concept is not fully realized for this age group. The whole is charming, but more successful as art than science. Though catalogued as nonfiction, this title will be better off in the picture book section. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-200189-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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