AXLE ANNIE

Pulver (Homer and the House Next Door, 1994, etc.) delivers a rambunctious wintry tall tale about how a valiant bus driver, Axle Annie, defeats a dastardly scheme concocted by fellow driver Shifty Rhodes. Annie is famous in her town of Burskyville for her amazing ability to maneuver her bus through any snowstorm. Not even the specter of the towering incline known as Tiger Hill can intimidate her. Thus the Burskyville schools never close, much to the disgruntlement of Shifty, who’d like a snow day now and then. When Shifty conspires with Hale Snow, owner of a local ski resort, to whip up a doozy of a snowstorm on Tiger Hill (with a little help from Hale’s snowmaking machine), it appears that Annie has met her match. However, her generosity in the past to all the stranded motorists is returned when they push her up the hill. With hilarious, over-the-top characters, this satisfyingly outrageous tale will tickle readers’ funny bones. Arnold’s spunky illustrations capture the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the text and his characterization of the curmudgeonly Shifty help make this blustery tale the perfect antidote for the winter doldrums. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2096-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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