ALIEN & POSSUM

HANGING OUT

Possum and Alien are good friends who first met in Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What (2001). Here, they play together and help each other understand their place in the world. In the first of three stories, Alien bemoans the fact that he is different from all the other living things in the forest, while Possum complains that he is merely one of “skadillions” of possums. They reassure each other that they are both unique and wonderful. The second tale is about a delightful, fun-filled birthday party. The last, reminiscent of Stellaluna (1993), shows our heroes sharing the joys of perching on a tree branch, each in his own special way. The plots are gentle expressions of friendship and acceptance. Johnston’s language is simple and straightforward, as befitting the easy-to-read format, but she does not sacrifice imagination or imagery. Repetition of words and phrases and generous use of contextual clues provide aid and comfort to emergent readers. However, an oversight in the layout might cause some confusion: a table of contents lists page numbers for the beginning of each story, but there are no corresponding numbers on those pages. DiTerlizzi’s cheerful, cartoonlike illustrations nicely complement and enhance the slight stories with a spirit of fun. Possum has a slightly goofy demeanor and Alien is very egg-like and even resembles Humpty Dumpty. A likable duo and an enjoyable romp for beginning readers who will be looking for the next installment. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83836-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A second scintillating celebration of personal style and dad-daughter DIY.

THE ONE AND ONLY SPARKELLA MAKES A PLAN

From the Sparkella series , Vol. 2

Reality puts only a temporary damper on big, glittery plans for a sleepover castle.

New school friend Tam, who shared bánh mi at lunch in The One and Only Sparkella (2021), is arriving in two hours, and before that Sparkella needs to make a castle “fit for two royal highnesses.” Unfortunately, even with Dad’s help, the flimsy cardboard construction collapses as soon as Sparkella climbs inside to test it. What to do? After giving the pouting princess some personal time in the garage, Dad points the way: “I think you have to take what you have and make it SPARKLE like only you can.” And, indeed, by the time brown-skinned “Tam, Queen of Kittens” is dropped off by her grandma, a pair of folding tables have been transformed with paint, wrapping paper, and colorful fabrics into the sparkliest castle ever! Laying on saturated colors and sprays of tiny stars with a lavish hand, Barnes depicts the two young “royals” in flamboyantly decorated settings—even Dad’s motorcycle is a dazzling confection awash in bows, and Dad himself, light-skinned like Sparkella, isn’t the least decorative element considering his fondness for sporting a purple boa and outrageous eyewear when occasion demands. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A second scintillating celebration of personal style and dad-daughter DIY. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-75076-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more