It’s not a stretch to say that if Shel Silverstein himself were to have dabbled in the piratical he could not have come up...

SHIVER ME TIMBERS!

PIRATE POEMS AND PAINTINGS

Arr! ’Tis a bonny day indeed when piratical inclinations are recorded with such florid nastiness as that found in this stellar collection of seagoing poems for salty dogs.

“A pirate’s life is topsy-turvy, / Full of strife, and rife with scurvy.” Don’t believe a word of it. With Florian presenting the true life of pirates, from endless days of seafood (“If we have fish for one more day / Methinks that I will puke”) to general information (“We’re rude, crude dudes with attitudes”), it’s hard to imagine a pirate poetry book half as much fun as the one conjured up here. It helps that along with being amusing, the poems are actually informative as well. Kids learn a variety of terms in “Pirate Patter,” run through a virtual pirate thesaurus (from “buccaneers” to “salt sea-robbers”) in “Names for Pirates,” decipher what symbols mean in “Pirate Flags,” and are instructed in the difference between a privateer and a buccaneer in “Rule of the Pirate.” Bouncy verse is ably complemented by Neubecker’s pitch-perfect art. His nasty (yet nicely multicultural and including both genders) rovers are always dirty, always wild and clearly having fun on every page. 

It’s not a stretch to say that if Shel Silverstein himself were to have dabbled in the piratical he could not have come up with a better selection of scurvy doggerel than the delicious verses found here. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1321-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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An action-packed romp.

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS

Superheroes deal with their emotions.

What happens when the empowered have a terrible day? Becker posits that while they could go on destructive sprees and wreak havoc, the caped crusaders and men and women of steel harness their energies and direct it in constructive ways. Little readers filled with energy and emotion may learn to draw similar conclusions, but the author doesn’t hammer home the message. The author has much more fun staging scenes of chaos and action, and Kaban clearly has a ball illustrating them. Superheroes could use laser vision to burn down forests and weather powers to freeze beachgoers. They could ignore crime sprees and toss vehicles across state lines. These hypothetical violent spectacles are softened by the cartoonish stylizations and juxtaposed with pages filled with heroic, “true” efforts such as rounding up criminals and providing fun at an amusement park. The illustrations are energetic and feature multicultural heroes. The vigorous illustrations make this a read for older children, as the busyness could overwhelm very little ones. While the book’s formula recalls How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and its many sequels, the relative scarcity of superhero picture books means there’s a place on the shelf for it.

An action-packed romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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