Worthy, even trendy, but unlikely to make nonreaders (of any age) follow the animals in Judy Sierra and Marc Brown’s classic...

"NO PIRATES ALLOWED!" SAID LIBRARY LOU

A librarian endows a treasure-hunting pirate with reading skills as well as training him to hush up in this bland valentine to literacy.

Sending other users fleeing from their computer screens and cozy reading nooks to cower in the stacks, Big Pirate Pete bursts into the Seabreezy Library bellowing demands for treasure. Flashing the fierce, quelling glare that good public and school librarians everywhere wield, diminutive Library Lou shuts him up and sends him away with a promise to help after he bathes and changes his undershorts. When he meekly returns, she shows him that there’s more to the alphabet than “X marks the spot,” and in time, he becomes an avid reader—as Greene puts it in a typically lumbering couplet: “Those factual books, Big Pete came to love. / He read about things that he’d never heard of….” Ajhar tracks the development of this Common Core–friendly reading preference in comical scenes in which schoolmarmish Lou dances balletically among piles of books as the exaggeratedly humongous pirate grows more and more absorbed in his reading. At last he figures out that reading is fun and tenders his thanks: “ ‘ ’Cause of ye, now we know—books be the treasure!’ / ‘Shucks,’ whispered Lou. ‘It’s been my pleasure.’ ”

Worthy, even trendy, but unlikely to make nonreaders (of any age) follow the animals in Judy Sierra and Marc Brown’s classic to become Wild About Books (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58536-796-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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