With Celia, Derek and Abner all having played starring roles in the series, fans will be eager for Tate’s turn.

GRASSHOPPER MAGIC

Hollowstone Hill’s magic (Lawn Mower Magic, 2012, etc.) returns in grasshoppers that, when fried and eaten, give Abner Willow an unexpected bounce.

Abner needs to practice bravery in order to lead the annual Willow Days parade, costumed as the ancestor for whom he was named. The costumer, Mrs. Delgado, has assured the four Willow children that the grasshoppers they’ve caught are a delicacy in her home country and cooks them up for lunch. Both Abner and Tate try the baked versions. Soon they are exploring the advantages and disadvantages of being able to leap 20 times their height. When they realize that Mrs. Delgado’s 2-year-old will also be bouncing uncontrollably, they set off to forestall an inevitable catastrophe, but the rescue is not what readers may have expected. Still, family teamwork triumphs again. This latest in a series which began with Hamster Magic (2010) stands alone well, with energy, humor and just enough suspense to carry readers along. Occasional grayscale illustrations will support the story. (Final art not seen.) The third-person narration includes plenty of dialogue and enough yuck factor to please any 8-year-old. But with the children’s ages and grades unstated in this title, both early able readers and older struggling ones will find someone to identify with.

With Celia, Derek and Abner all having played starring roles in the series, fans will be eager for Tate’s turn. (Magical adventure. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87084-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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