WHERE IS THE APPLE PIE?

From Gorbachev (Nicky and the Big, Bad Wolves, 1998, etc.), an evanescent cumulative story that takes readers on a treasure hunt that ends before the treasure—an apple pie—is recovered. A billy goat is strolling along the lane when its neighbor, the pig, issues a greeting and asks where the goat has been. The goat replies that he has been to the bakery, where he bought an apple pie, but robbers stole it. “Where are the robbers?” asks the pig, launching a call-and-response session as the goat’s one-line answers trigger further one-line queries from the pig. That pie has been carried into a forest that burns, and out into a lake, across the desert, and all the way to horizon through fog and wind. For most spreads, the goat and pig chat companionably on one page while opposite it, the pie’s adventures are transpiring, complete with thefts, forest fires, wind storms, and camels drinking their fill. The pig tenders a final summary of all that went before, as meanwhile the entire cast of characters amass. “So where is the apple pie?” Not here. The pace is crisp, the punch line a breeze, and the whole package is lighter than pie crust; children will pick up the pattern of the chatter quickly and join in the pig’s questions at story hours. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23385-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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 BARN OWLS

From Johnston (An Old Shell, 1999, etc.), poetic phrases that follow a ghostly barn owl through days and nights, suns and moons. Barn owls have been nesting and roosting, hunting and hatching in the barn and its surroundings for as long as the barn has housed spiders, as long as the wheat fields have housed mice, “a hundred years at least.” The repetition of alliterative words and the hushed hues of the watercolors evoke the soundless, timeless realm of the night owl through a series of spectral scenes. Short, staccato strings of verbs describe the age-old actions and cycles of barn owls, who forever “grow up/and sleep/and wake/and blink/and hunt for mice.” Honey-colored, diffused light glows in contrast to the star-filled night scenes of barn owls blinking awake. A glimpse into the hidden campestral world of the elusive barn owl. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-981-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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