Humorous repetition lightens the quarrel, and readers learn that forgiveness is a process.

RITA & RALPH'S ROTTEN DAY

Anger can sometimes cause ridiculous mishaps.

Rita and Ralph live some distance from each other, with many hills between their two homes. Every day they travel “down the hill, and up the hill, and down the hill, and up the hill,” until they meet at the apple tree in the middle, where they high-five each other before playing. One day, they decide to play a new game called Sticks and Stones. Rita ends up with a painful lump on her head, and they both run away. Ralph realizes that he has hurt his best friend. He needs to apologize. So he travels the entire distance to her house: “down the hill, and up the hill, and down the hill…aaaaand up the hill.” By that time, he is cranky and doesn’t sound very sorry while apologizing. He runs all the way home. Rita realizes she may have been a bit rash, so (including all of those hills, which will be a gas in storytime) she goes to apologize to Ralph. But again, it doesn’t quite work. “It has been a rotten day.” Luckily, the next one is much better! The horizontal trim brilliantly showcases Oswald’s expansive art and the distance between the two chums while the typography is set so it emulates the hilly path. Deedy’s author’s note acknowledges inspiration from the popular hand game “Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle.” Rita and Ralph both have brown skin and dark hair.

Humorous repetition lightens the quarrel, and readers learn that forgiveness is a process. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-21638-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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THE POUT-POUT FISH IN THE BIG-BIG DARK

Mr. Fish heroically offers to find Ms. Clam’s lost pearl, and as he ventures forth, gentle suspense ensues when he finds himself heading for deeper and darker waters. Young readers will enjoy the energetic and detailed cartoon-like illustrations of this friendly-yet-mysterious underwater world (the scenes deep in the ocean trench are particularly effective), while the rollicking, rhythmic text will have readers diving in with Mr. Fish as he repeatedly admits, “I’m FAST as a sailfish, I’m STRONG as a shark, I’m SMART as dolphin…But I’m scared of the dark.” Fans of The Pout-Pout Fish (2008) will find just as much to love here, and any youngster who has been afraid of the dark will identify with Mr. Fish’s struggle. Luckily, our hero has dedicated friends who help him deal with his anxiety, continue on his quest and keep his promise to Ms. Clam. The final notes of friendship and bravery will resonate with young readers. An entertaining read-aloud and a nice lighthearted vehicle for dealing with fear. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-374-30798-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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