HANSEL AND GRETEL

A sumptuous edition of the old fairy tale uses striking design to place readers in the forest with the children.

The title is laser cut into the all-black cover in a Gothic script that, pleasingly, makes “Hansel and Gretel” look much like “Hansel und Gretel”—the first of many touches that tell readers this is no ordinary book. The stitching of the case is in orange thread that is visible through the clear plastic overlay that protects the cover. The orange appears again, through the die-cut window of the poor woodcutter’s cottage, seen in silhouette against a lowering sky. From the outside, it looks cozy, but with the turn of the page, readers see the wicked stepmother with finger crooked, talonlike, against the now-ominous orange background. This page is semitransparent; a flock of birds can be seen taking flight on the next page. Silhouetted ferns, birds and trees appear and recede in spooky, disorienting fashion, visible in both directions through the many semitransparent pages. Delicate pencil and ink drawings complement the heavy silhouettes, which are reminiscent of the work of Nikki McClure. The witch’s cottage itself is a wild crazy quilt of patterns (including a bit of digitally collaged candy bar) placed on a deceptively safe-looking chintz background. Adapted by West from a public-domain edition of the tale, the text has an appropriately old-fashioned feel that supports Schenker’s masterful interpretation.

Gorgeous. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-988-8240-54-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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