Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Every Thing on It

Every Thing on It by Shel Silverstein; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate     Harper/HarperCollins     202 pp. 9/11      978-0-06-199816-4      $19.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-199817-1      $20.89 Posthumously published works are sometimes weak, but this collection of 140-plus poems is every bit as good as Silverstein’s earlier poetry collections, beginning with the now-classic Where the Sidewalk Ends (rev. 4/75). […]

Review of The Name of the Star

Upon arriving in London from Louisiana for the school year, high-school senior Rory is told that someone “pulled a Jack the Ripper” the night before. She assumes the phrase is some quaint British colloquialism she has yet to learn, not an actual reference to a gruesome murder committed on the same date—August 31—and in the same location.

Review of Grin and Bear It

“Bear had a dream. His dream was to make his friends laugh.” But poor Bear has stage fright, and his debut appearance on the Woodland Stage flops. Despondent, Bear goes to the local watering hole, orders a root beer, and says to himself: “What’s the use? I’ll never tell another joke again.” But when hummingbird Emmy, a gifted performer but lousy writer, finds Bear’s crumpled-up list of jokes, she perceives its comedic genius and regales the crowd with an impromptu performance. Bear’s friends, recognizing his work, introduce the two and thus create a symbiotic partnership between two comedians with different skills.

Review of Wonderstruck

With Wonderstruck’s opening wordless sequence of an approaching wolf, readers might think they’ve embarked upon a Gary Paulsen novel, but this is a story not of wilderness adventure but of two young people running—to New York City—for their lives. The pictures (pencil, double-page spread, wordless) follow a young girl, Rose, living in material comfort but also emotional distress in 1927 Hoboken; the text is set in 1977 in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region, where a boy, Ben, struggles with the death of his mother and the loss of his hearing.

Review of Bumble-Ardy

Bumble-Ardy made its first appearance back in 1971 as an animated short on Sesame Street featuring a boy who invited pigs to his ninth birthday party. Forty years later, the story makes its picture book debut, and Sendak has made some significant changes: all the characters are now pigs, and a prologue describes how Bumble-Ardy’s family neglected him for his first eight years and then “gorged, and got ate.”