LUKE ON THE LOOSE

Leaving his oblivious father deep in “(boring dad talk)” with a passerby, little Luke scuttles off in pursuit of a flock of pigeons. The merry chase takes him out of the park, across streets, over the Brooklyn Bridge, up an apartment building’s fire escape and, at last, onto the roof of a water tower where he decides to sack out. Relating the escapade in sequential panels featuring dialogue balloons, blurgits and other cartooning conventions (plus a cameo by Popeye’s Olive Oyl), Bliss sends his brown-skinned ex-toddler speeding through and over scenes of urban chaos, until he is delivered at last by firefighters into the arms of his relieved parents. The next-day final scene is much like the first—except that the errant lad is held in check by a leash. Luke’s ruckus seems low-key next to the general havoc wreaked in The Cat in the Hat, or more recently Jennifer Armstrong’s Once Upon A Banana, illustrated by David Small (2006), but that will make it easier for fledgling readers and prereaders to follow his trail. Only figuratively, one hopes. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-935179-00-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009

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SEE PIP POINT

From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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