BOOTSIE BARKER BALLERINA

Bully Bootsie Barker (Bootsie Barker Bites, 1992) returns, this time in the I Can Read series; subtle stereotypes, depicted by a different illustrator (Peggy Rathmann illustrated the original) detract from the humor that made Bootsie a villain readers loved to hate. Lisa asks her friend Bernie to attend ballet class with her because she's afraid of encountering Bootsie. Bootsie spies Bernie and announces, ``I HATE ballet,'' adding, ``I hate boys even more.'' Dance class goes down the tubes, as Bootsie muscles her way through pliÇs and relevÇs. When Bootsie dances out her version of a tornado, Bernie and Lisa let her spin her way right out the door. Bernie's constant seeking of reassurances about ballet class from his basketball coach comes across as apologetic, making ballet a means to improving his game, instead of an end in itself. Bootsie's unrelenting meanness works as well here as it did in her debut, but Karas's illustrations throw the story off: In a classroom where all the other students are relatively small and thin, Bootsie is fat; her bullying becomes synonymous with her size, and sets the stage for mean-spirited associations between looks and behavior. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027100-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

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SEE PIP POINT

From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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