THE LA-DI-DA HARE

Clever wordplay and a marvelous island bestiary distinguish this rhymed wonder quest from Lewis (Black Swan/White Crow, 1995, etc.). Mouse suggests to Honeypot Bear that they set sail for the magical Island of Oh, ``to hear the applause of the Red Lobster claws/For the beautiful La-di-da Hare.'' Honeypot Bear obliges by becoming their boat, Mouse navigates (``Honey! Bear right!'') and takes the honorary title of Commodore, and when they reach Oh, La-di-da Hare welcomes them lavishly: She decks them out in Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and cool designer shades, then rustles up some deli sandwiches for the whole island crowd. The Crocodile accepts a pastrami on rye, Oyster and Blue-clawed Crab tuck into deviled eggs and dill pickles, ``And who prefers a pat of peanut/Butter on a bun?/The Owls sat think-blinking that/Might do. `Yoo-whoo!' said one.'' La-di-da Hare convinces the two to remain forever, ``For animal crackers,/And wheels of bleu cheese- -/And a bungalow, boys,/For as long as you please!'' They are persuaded, and remain there to this day. It's a good subversive touch—let's have none of that home-in-time-for-tea stuff. Bluthenthal's animated illustrations are an excellent complement, in beachcombing colors of sand and surf, convincing in the depiction of a place awash in fresh, salt breezes. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-689-31925-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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THE DOG THAT DUG FOR DINOSAURS

This easy reader for children reading at the fluency level recounts the story of a girl named Mary Ann Anning and her dog, Tray. They lived on the coast of England in the early 1800s, although the time frame is given only as “a long, long time ago.” Mary Ann and Tray became famous for their discoveries of fossils, including dinosaur bones. They discovered the first pterodactyl found in England, and the name was assigned to their fossil. The story focuses a little too much on the dog, and the title misses a great opportunity to completely acknowledge a girl accomplishing something important in the scientific world, especially in a much earlier era and without formal training or education. Despite this drawback, both Mary Ann and Tray are appealing characters and the discovery of the fossils and subsequent notice from scientists, collectors, and even royalty is appealing and well written. Sullivan’s illustrations provide intriguing period details in costumes, tools, and buildings, as well as a clever front endpaper of fossil-strewn ground covered with muddy paw prints. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85708-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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