LITTLE GOLD STAR

A SPANISH AMERICAN CINDERELLA TALE

This tender version of the Cinderella story comes from the American Southwest. A widow and her two daughters pressure the shepherd Tomás into marriage, and while he spends more and more time with the flocks, his daughter Teresa gets more and more of the chores. When Tomás brings Teresa the gift of a lamb, her stepmother kills it and orders her to wash the fleece. A fish steals the fleece, but Blessed Mary appears to her, and asks her to care for Joseph and the Child for a day. Teresa is rewarded for her kindness by the return of the fleece, and the Virgin touches her forehead so a gold star appears there. When Teresa returns home, the stepsisters are fierce with jealousy, mocking her with the name Estrellita de Oro (Little Gold Star), but when each of them in turn tries for the fleece and the gold star, they fail the kindness test and get horns and donkey’s ears instead. Still, when Don Miguel gives a fine party, the sisters vie for his attention, mantillas over their protuberances. As is to be expected he has eyes only for Teresa, who is then sent home by her stepmother. Don Miguel finds her through the offices of their cat, but the stepmother sets three impossible tasks for Teresa before she will give permission for the marriage. Mary blesses Teresa again, the tasks completed, Teresa and Don Miguel marry, and even the stepsisters learn kindness until their donkey ears and horns disappear. There’s a wonderful translucence to Martínez’s watercolors: light seems to shine through the roses in the Virgin’s path, the candles at Don Miguel’s, even the stepsisters’ black lace mantillas. Little Gold Star has a lovely face, and the stepmother and sisters are properly grumpy. In a year full of Cinderella variations, this one is a welcome addition. (Fairy tale. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-14780-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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