THE HOBYAHS

In Joseph Jacob's version of this classic tale (in More English Folk and Fairy Tales), faithful Turpie tries to warn his owner of the wicked Hobyahs who come by night, intent on evil; but the old dog's ungrateful owner only punishes him for barking. He cuts off Turpie's tail, his legs, finally his head, till Turpie can bark no more. Then the Hobyahs return, destroying all but a kind little girl who's saved by a hunter and his dog. Much of the story's power comes from the horror that builds, night by night, with the Hobyahs' menace and the old man's cruelty. Here, in reducing the violence, San Souci loses much of the drama. He includes five dogs that are merely chased away one by one; in the end they all come back to rescue the girl. In his energetic illustrations, Natchev blends the natural and fantastical to create a dark, mildly eerie landscape. The dogs are as much comical as fierce; the Hobyahs—round-eyed, cat-like creatures in striped nightgowns—are not very scary. For those who relish the older tale, a disappointing substitute. San Souci explains his alterations in a scrupulous source note. (Folklore/Picture book. 7- 9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-30934-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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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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THUNDER ROSE

Nolen and Nelson offer a smaller, but no less gifted counterpart to Big Jabe (2000) in this new tall tale. Shortly after being born one stormy night, Rose thanks her parents, picks a name, and gathers lightning into a ball—all of which is only a harbinger of feats to come. Decked out in full cowboy gear and oozing self-confidence from every pore, Rose cuts a diminutive, but heroic figure in Nelson’s big, broad Western scenes. Though she carries a twisted iron rod as dark as her skin and ropes clouds with fencing wire, Rose overcomes her greatest challenge—a pair of rampaging twisters—not with strength, but with a lullaby her parents sang. After turning tornadoes into much-needed rain clouds, Rose rides away, “that mighty, mighty song pressing on the bull’s-eye that was set at the center of her heart.” Throughout, she shows a reflective bent that gives her more dimension than most tall-tale heroes: a doff of the Stetson to her and her creators. (author’s note) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-216472-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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