Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
A little frog takes his first small leaps over a ladybug, over a bee, and over the clover before returning to his waiting mother. His leaps get bigger and he leaps over the creek and over the beavers. Then they get even bigger, leaping over trees and hills! After every outing he returns to his mother who is waiting for him with either a book to share, food to eat or a hug. Soon the little frog is leaping out into space and the stars, but no fear, his mother is still there for him.
Thompson has created a picture book that is very simple with just a few lines on each page and a gentle concept. Her text has an infectious rhythm to it, adding to the jaunty tone of the book. The humor of the book builds as the little frog leaps over larger and larger things. Children will love the humor and will delight in the final pages as the little frog enters outer space.
Cordell’s illustrations echo the jaunty tone of the text and add a friendliness, warmth and plenty of color to the story. The little frog soars into the sky with a joyous freedom, his froggy legs and arms waving merrily.
An ideal book for toddler story times featuring frogs, this is sure to become a favorite of young listeners. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Also reviewed by 100 Scope Notes.
Kat Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Mix a Regency setting with plenty of magic and one smart, sassy heroine and you have this winning novel for children. Kat never knew her mother, since she died when Kat was born. She does have a stepmother who is far more interested in the wealth her stepdaughters will bring with strategic marriages than with their future happiness. Kat is the youngest of the three sisters and she discovers early in the novel that she has inherited her mother’s magical talents. One of her older sisters, Angeline, has also gotten magical talents of a different sort. As the eldest sister, Elissa, is about to be betrothed to a grim fiancé, the younger two get deeper into trouble as they explore their magical gifts. All too soon, Kat will be called upon to use her magic to save those she loves, while trying to act graceful and polite in society.
I’m a huge fan of mixing historical settings with fantasy, and this novel does it very well. Readers never lose the fact that they are reading a Regency novel, thanks to the elements of society that are woven successfully throughout the novel. At the same time, the fantasy elements are tantalizingly and beautifully done as well.
The characterization is superb, especially Kat, who is a Regency girl that modern children will relate to happily. She is intelligent, irreverent and irresistible. From the first glimpse readers get of Kat with her short-cut hair and her desire to save her family, Kat is an intriguing character. Happily, Burgis has incorporated plenty of humor into the novel as well. There are scenes that are filled with genteel sarcasm and bites but sometimes the story merrily heads closer to farce with delightful results.
Highly recommended, this is a book that children will adore with just the right mix of humor, fantasy and style. Sounds like ideal summer reading to me! Appropriate for ages 9-12.
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Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books.
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