NOODLE MAN

THE PASTA SUPERHERO

Sayre’s (Shadows, p. 189, etc.) enjoyable introduction to pasta is couched as a quick-thinking, tongue-in-cheek adventure yarn. It revolves around the Dente family (puns abound here), who—gentle and kind as they may be—are having a hard time succeeding in the family business of making pasta. Pizza has taken over the town’s dinnertime. Al, the oldest son, has tried other professions—dentistry, auto mechanics—but his pasta bent has always sunk him: his teeth look like elbow macaroni, his radiator fan is made of farfalle. Then he has a brainstorm: He makes a portable pasta-maker to hawk his wares about town. Still, no one is buying. But Al does put his machine to good use, spewing out angel-hair pasta to foil bank robbers, shooting out a ribbon of lasagna noodle to serve as a slide to save people from a burning building, squeezing out fusilli to use as springs to bounce over floodwaters. In a final act of bravery, Al saves the pizza-delivery girl, and the town finally understands it has a pasta superhero on its hands. They also relearn a love of the stuff. Wildly playful artwork, from its Mediterranean colors to its characters’ dreamy eyelids, melds with Sayre’s goofy story, which will surely inspire readers to experiment with noodle shapes and—beware—to play with their food. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-229307-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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