From Jane Yolen’s froggy Pied Piper remake to “A Boy and His Frog,” by David Lubar (designer of the Game-Boy version of “Frogger”), about a lad who releases his oversized pet into the local swamp after it eats a neighbor’s Chihuahua, these eight new tales will make a big splash with middle readers. The tone, reflected in DiTerlizzi’s Homer Price–like drawings of cheerful, high-stepping children and bulging, inscrutable amphibians, is generally light. It changes toward the end with Stephen Menick’s anguished Pharaoh’s-eye view of the Seven Plagues of Egypt before bouncing back up with Springer’s closer, “Ahem,” in which a shy, harassed child turns jeers to cheers by going to school with a loudly assertive frog in her throat. Invite readers to follow Bruce Coville’s shape-changing superhero Dennis Juggarum in releasing their own inner frogs with this kickin’ collection. (Short stories. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-399-23312-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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