HIDING HOOVER

Readers may trip over some unfilled gaps in this tale of a single parent who—evidently—quietly changes his “No Pets!” stance. Knowing that their father has always denied their most earnest entreaties for a pet, two children desperately try to hide the friendly dragon that appears one day in the back yard. As it happens, they needn’t have bothered, for even though the new green “coat stand” eats his hat, the flaming “lamp” produces melting heat and the “reading chair” dumps its occupants, “Daddy never noticed a thing!” Though she does add plenty of amusing detail to her canted, topsy-turvy cartoon scenes, Huliska-Beith misses the chance to connect the dots here; showing not even a change of expression, Dad still comes off as totally oblivious—at least, until he casually sits down, post-bedtime, for a game of cards with the house’s huge new resident. From Steven Kellogg’s Mysterious Tadpole (1977) to M.P. Robertson’s The Egg (2001), tales featuring the sudden arrival of oversized pets generally show better-knit internal logic. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8037-2706-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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HENRY AND MUDGE AND THE STARRY NIGHT

From the Henry and Mudge series

Rylant (Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, 1998, etc.) slips into a sentimental mode for this latest outing of the boy and his dog, as she sends Mudge and Henry and his parents off on a camping trip. Each character is attended to, each personality sketched in a few brief words: Henry's mother is the camping veteran with outdoor savvy; Henry's father doesn't know a tent stake from a marshmallow fork, but he's got a guitar for campfire entertainment; and the principals are their usual ready-for-fun selves. There are sappy moments, e.g., after an evening of star- gazing, Rylant sends the family off to bed with: ``Everyone slept safe and sound and there were no bears, no scares. Just the clean smell of trees . . . and wonderful green dreams.'' With its nice tempo, the story is as toasty as its campfire and swaddled in Stevenson's trusty artwork. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81175-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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