LINDA HAYWARD is an author whose work includes the Step into Reading titles Baby Moses, Noah's Ark, The First Thanksgiving, and many more.
FREIRE WRIGHT is the illustrator of several books for children and currently resides in London. LINDA HAYWARD is an author whose work includes the Step into Reading titles Baby Moses, Noah's Ark, The First Thanksgiving, and many more. FREIRE WRIGHT is the illustrator of several books for children and currently resides in London.
ea. vol: (Step Into Reading Series). CIP. Random. 1987. PLB $5.99; pap. $2.95. K-Gr 3 Of these easy readers, only The Titanic is a must, although The Best Little Monkeys. . . is also worth a look. Norma Jean, Jumping Bean is a case of a pedestrian text being sparked by its illustrations, albeit not enough to jump it out of the ordinary. A kangaroo whose jumping at the wrong times and places makes her a nuisance, Norma Jean reforms in time to win back her friends and the jumping races at school. The colorful animal cast has a Wallace Tripp look about them, but their sweet sprightliness doesn't go far enough in making the story more than one more slightly moralistic little animal tale. Exciting nonfiction books for kids just beyond the beginner stage can be hard to come by, and the story of the sinking of the Titanic and its subsequent rediscovery will be the ticket for both hard-to-please young ``real stuff'' buffs and older reluctant readers. Told in short sentences that can get pretty choppy, this account is nonetheless one that will keep readers going. The descriptions of the ship and action are clear without sensationalizing or sinking into bathos. Facts are accurate, for the most part, and well-integrated into the text. The watercolor illustrations usually do a good job of detailing the text's descriptions, and while they have trouble bringing human figures to life, they do manage to convey the high drama of the sinking in non-gory fashion. A good, if tightly condensed, account that may well send its readers to more detailed histories or Ballard's own National Geographic articles and photos. Noah's Ark is a very simple retelling of the Bible story. The print is quite large, the language serviceable but lacking in any liveliness, and the full-color watercolors attractively tinted and designed but also adding little personality or extension to the text. The story's last line, ``God told Noah to make a new world. And Noah did,'' accompanied by a scene of Noah and family on a bare plateau, can't help but evoke Peter Spier's lush realization of those words in his illustrated version of the story. The Best Little Monkeys in the World are Marvin and Mary, who plan a high old time for themselves when their irresponsible babysitter comes for the evening. From banana shakes (ten bananas and lots of milk and ice cream in the blender) that spew all over to a flooding bubble bath to a spooky TV show, the monkey shines roll on, but Marvin and Mary manage to get all cleaned up before Mama and Papa get home. The story here is adequately told, but all the fun comes from the full-color pencil and wash illustrations. These pop-eyed mischief makers exuberantly cavort through the most modern of jungle homes, and past a variety of ingenious details. A case of the most possible being made of somewhat thin material, the fully-realized art here will serve to keep children reading. Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, Wash.
"Many parents will appreciate this easy, large-print edition."--Bulletin, Center for Children's Books.