HARP O’GOLD

AN ORIGINAL TALE

Bateman reminds readers of the proverbial phrases, "Be careful what you wish for" and "Money can't buy happiness." Tom, a musician, spreads joy throughout the emerald land on his timeworn harp, but longs to become a wealthy minstrel. While in the woods contemplating his fate, he wonders out loud if perhaps his shabby old harp is the source of his problem, and wishes for a new one. Lo and behold, a small man dressed in green appears with a gold harp. Astonished at his good fortune, Tom quickly makes the trade and seals the deal. When his vintage instrument disappears with the mysterious little man, Tom feels a bit of a pull on his heartstrings, but is blinded by the glitter and deaf to the tinny sound of the new one. All the right doors open to the minstrel with the golden harp, but alas, Tom is not as happy as he thought he would be, since people are in awe of the harp instead of the music. Tom's ultimate dream comes true when he moves into the palace to perform exclusively for the king, but he soon realizes that although he lives like a prince, he has lost his freedom and is a palace prisoner. Naturally, all turns out right in the end, with Tom having learned his lesson, thanks to a more benevolent than usual leprechaun. Bateman's (Leprechaun Gold, 1998, etc.) chatty message is made more charming by Weber's (Angel Spreads Her Wings, 1999, etc.) winsome figures and clever details, lots of green, of course, and music-appreciating animals. A welcome addition to the slender group of St. Patrick's Day picture books. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1523-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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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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