A snow book that deserves a warm reception from new readers.

SNOW JOKE

From the I Like To Read series

Anti-social high jinks deliver a lesson in kindness and in learning to read.

Bunny wants to play in the snow, but her fun is undermined when Red plays jokes on her that are only funny to him. He hits her with a snowball, steals her hat, makes her snow angel into a snow devil and pushes her off a sled. Other friends come to her defense at the last offense, but Red is unmoved. He then pushes her and two others while skating, but he ends up falling, too. Schadenfreude is apparent as Red cries on the ground while the others laugh and Bunny declares, “That’s a good joke!” This sentiment soon slips away, however, when Red sits sulking on the porch while Bunny and her friends enjoy hot cocoa indoors. Not wanting to be a bully herself, Bunny brings Red a mug and they make amends. A quick (perhaps too quick?) resolution follows with Red telling a good joke to everyone, which they all like. Readers can find that joke on the rear endpapers and will recognize part of its punch line in the title itself. Degen’s cartoonish illustrations center on expressive, endearing, anthropomorphic animal characters. Pleasing, painterly backgrounds avoid cluttering the pages to allow easy decoding of the controlled text.

A snow book that deserves a warm reception from new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3065-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Purposeful, but saved from didacticism by the sheer exuberance of the illustrations; the accessible text introduces the idea...

SAME, SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Although today’s kids usually communicate through texting or email, Elliot from the United States and Kailash from India use pictures and a few simple sentences to exchange information about their lives. 

Their teachers facilitate the snail mailing of pictorial letters, just as the author-illustrator did when she visited Nepal, which provided the inspiration for this book. The title, also used as a refrain throughout the book, is a popular saying in India and Nepal, heard by Kostecki-Shaw when she traveled there. Elliot and Kailash explore their similarities and differences, concluding that their lives are “Different, different but the SAME!” The engaging childlike acrylic paintings with crayon, pencil, tissue paper and other collage elements show the busy crowded American streets of Elliot’s city, the traditional buildings of Kailash’s riverside village, the taxis and buses in the States and the taxis and camel-pulled carts in India. The English alphabet is reproduced on wide-ruled notebook paper and the Hindi alphabet (unfortunately unidentified) on a small slate, and both typical American pets (dog and fish) and a whole farmyard of Indian animals appear. Both kids live unusually low-tech lives (no computers or cell phones in sight), but they each enjoy learning about their pen pal’s world.

Purposeful, but saved from didacticism by the sheer exuberance of the illustrations; the accessible text introduces the idea of traditional two-way communication and demonstrates just how small our world can be. (Picture book. 5-7) 

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8946-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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