AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT

The talented San Souci brothers take on the Brothers Grimm’s “Clever Elsie,” and the result is an entirely new story which, though it retains the folksy quality and quirky absurdity of the original, recasts the characters, adds a moral and tidies up the ambiguous ending. When twin bear cubs Jonas and Juniper are temporarily put in charge of the family farm, chaos quickly ensues. Many of the twins’ problems—and, ironically, the solutions to those problems—come from taking their parents’ directions too literally. For example, they are able to retrieve the family fortune only because, warned to guard the cottage door, they take it with them as they hunt down the thieves, and the door winds up knocking said thieves senseless. By story’s end, the cubs have repaired all the damage they’ve caused and discovered in the process that things go much more smoothly when they put their heads together. Daniel San Souci’s detailed watercolor illustrations contribute to the quaint feel of this effort and lend it a bit of welcome emotional depth as well. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-87483-833-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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