MARVIN ONE TOO MANY

Paterson and Brown (Marvin’s Best Christmas Present Ever, 1997, etc.) continue their easy-reader series about a sensitive boy named Marvin with this latest addition to the “I Can Read” line. This time Marvin is starting first grade—scared, lost, and ready to cry. He feels like the odd man out in many ways, or “one too many,” as his teacher inadvertently comments. The other children in first grade are sounding out words and moving on quickly (perhaps a little too quickly) to reading books, while Marvin has yet to make the connection between groups of letters and sound blends. He starts to dread school, and after a fight on the playground and some tears at home, he gets extra help with his reading at home when his big sister makes flash cards, and his father reads humorous poetry to him and recounts his own difficulties in learning to read. After practicing reading at home every night, Marvin learns to read in his own good time, blooming just like Leo. Brown’s color-pencil illustrations add a soft, old-fashioned flavor to the story, with warm details in her depiction of Marvin’s close-knit farm family. The story functions well as an intermediate-level easy reader, but first-grade teachers and reading specialists will also find this a useful read-aloud to reassure all the Marvins who need a little extra time and help. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028769-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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