RIBBITING TALES

ORIGINAL STORIES ABOUT FROGS

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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THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT

A sentimental tale overwhelmed by busy illustrations and rampant pedantry. A gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker’s kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he’s ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. The illustrations are elaborate, filled with clues to quilt names. A note points to the 250 different quilt names hidden in the picture on the inside of the book jacket. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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