A breath of warmth from the far north.

THE PENCIL

When their mother leaves to help a neighbor, siblings Susan, Rebecca, and Peter are surprised when their father opens his wife’s wooden box of special things.

With Anaana gone from their iglu, the children play all their usual games: a jumping contest, blindfolded hide-and-seek, drawing on the ice window, and playing with the dolls their grandmother has made for them, but soon all three become bored. However, Ataata surprises them by opening Anaana’s wooden box and taking out her pencil! He hands it and a piece of paper to Susan, the oldest and narrator, so she can draw. Soon, the other children each have a turn with the pencil, but with the paper full, they draw on the back of an empty tea box. Ataata must sharpen the pencil with his knife, making the pencil much smaller; Susan wonders what will happen when Anaana returns. Authors Avingaq and Vsetula understand life in Nunavut, Canada, and embed in the story the importance of being responsible for belongings and caring for them wisely. A helpful glossary of the Inuktitut words (italicized on first reference within the story) is included in the backmatter. Chua depicts a close, loving Inuit family dressed in furs; a traditional ulu and seal-oil lamp can be seen along with a European kettle in the cozy interior.

A breath of warmth from the far north. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77227-216-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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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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