PROBABLY PISTACHIO

Jack is having a bad Monday morning in this MathStart (Level two) title, which painlessly slides probability into the story. Jack’s late for school; his dad is fixing lunch, which means he may get something he doesn’t like; and he gets milk all over his math homework. Finding out lunch is tuna fish (which he hates), Jack dreams of trading with Emma, a girl in his class who had pastrami four days last week (Jack’s favorite). He trades sandwiches with Emma without asking, and gets liverwurst, something even worse than tuna. Then he is off to after-school soccer, where he tries to decide where to stand in line so that he and his friend will be on the same team. Jack figures, based on past sessions, the coach will probably have them count off by twos, but again he is fooled as the coach has them count off by threes. Other probability opportunities include which snack hew will get, what’s for dinner, and what’s for dessert. The day ends pleasantly as Jack’s mother brings his favorite pistachio ice cream. The author includes an afterword with questions for adults and kids to reinforce the concept of probability. He also suggests games and activities to extend the concept. Colorful pencil and watercolor illustrations show an appealing group of interracial young children, parents, and teachers. Children will enjoy the story whether or not it helps their understanding of probability. The popular author of other MathStart titles (Missing Mittens, see above, etc.) will find a ready audience for this effort. (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028028-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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