IF THE SHOE FITS

Shy Cassie has the skills to make her dream of becoming a dancer come true. Unfortunately, she gets nervous if anyone watches her dance. What with ballet and tap and jazz classes, she gets plenty of time to practice, but her reserved nature prevents her from making friends in any of her classes. She longs to be confident, like Jake in her jazz class, but for now her dreams of dancing in public remain just that—dreams. When she dances with her idol’s shoes (claimed from the secondhand shelf at the studio) and realizes that Jake has fears of his own, she finds she can rise above her anxiety and take her rightful place on the front line. Smith’s pleasing black-and-white pencil sketches are just the right touch for this realistic slice-of-life story. Likable characters—including a boy dancer whose father is also a dancer—a familiar setting and friendly illustrations on each page add up to a winner for the reader ready for a step beyond early readers. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-58089-338-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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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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