Reviews

Reviews

Little Frog & the Scary Autumn Thing – Publisher’s Weekly Review

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Little Frog and the Scary Autumn Thing

Jane Yolen, illus. by Ellen Shi. Persnickety (Legato, dist.), $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-943978-01-4
Vivid autumn foliage is generally considered to be a thing of beauty, but those unfamiliar colors spell danger to a young frog. “To Little Frog, red and gold were scary,” writes Yolen (On Bird Hill). “They were the colors of hot sun and cold blood.” Mama Frog tells her daughter that “most things that are scary are only just new,” and after exploring the forest on her own and sliding down a pile of leaves with her father, Little Frog starts to agree. Yolen doesn’t rush Little Frog’s emotional turnaround, and newcomer Shi’s inviting mixed-media landscapes make it clear that the amphibian is never in danger. Little Frog’s (mostly) reasoned reactions to her own nervousness hint at ways readers might tackle their own fears. Ages 4–8.

DEX – Kirkus Reviews

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DEX

Age Range: 11 – 14

A middle schooler discovers that he was born to be a celebrity chef.

Trained in the kitchen from birth by his sorely missed grandpa Poppy, 12-year-old “Dex the Food Dude” Rossi already runs a successful business selling sandwiches and cookies to commuters out of a wheelbarrow in his front yard. But a spell at the stir-fry station at hot classmate Sarah’s bat mitzvah propels the white boy to wider fame and glory as the star of Dine with Dex on the Eatz Network.

This meteoric rise ominously earns him the animosity of smarmy rival TV chef Preston LeTray. Distracted by a mad crush on Sarah and also the horrifying news that his grandma Golda is on the verge of losing Poppy’s Kitchen, the family diner, Dex is unaware of his danger even after LeTray’s volunteered “help” on a show leads to on-air volcanoes of vomit. Fortunately, Dex has plenty of more perspicacious allies…the references to cookies, cakes, sweet and savory sauces, sumptuous platters, gourmet pizzas, and other mouthwatering fare that Fishbach energetically stirs into her fast and funny tale.

A bit underdone in spots but a mostly delectable debut. (Fiction. 11-14)