A PROMISE IS A PROMISE

In this uninspired take on a tired premise, young George wangles permission from his parents for a pet, then brings home a series of unsuitable ones. Ordered to take back the huge dog, the breeding pair of mice and the shark, George extracts a promise that he can have a bird—and so he gets a big, bright red, loudly abusive parrot. Spoiled and sullen, George makes an unappealing protagonist, his clueless dad and wimpy, hand-wringing mother show not a speck of intelligence and the sketchy, rumpled figures in Auth’s illustrations supply neither character nor much humor. There is no reason to prefer this over (to name a few examples) Dan Yaccarino’s An Octopus Followed Me Home (1997), Lauren Child’s I Want a Pet (1999) or Karen Kaufman Orloff’s I Wanna Iguana (2004), illustrated by David Catrow. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2285-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME

Mercy is back in this fun third installment of merrymaking, buttered-toast eating, and crime solving. When she’s awakened by the sound of the toaster being dragged across the counter, she discovers a cowboy named Leroy walking off with a sackful of kitchen loot. Exhaustion gets the better of the porcine wonder and she settles down for a nap while Leroy settles down to some serious stealing. When Leroy opens up a butter-barrel candy, our butter-loving heroine wakes and gives Leroy a pig-bronco ride as she searches for the source of the butter smell. Of course, neighbors Eugenia and Baby Lincoln get in on the act and soon the firefighters and Officer Tomilello do too. A snack of toast with a great deal of butter follows for all. Silly crime-solving for the growing number of Mercy’s young fans moving on from easy readers. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2590-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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