A couple of new reviews for Stinky Spike


From School Library Journal: 

Meisel, Peter. Stinky Spike and the Royal Rescue. Illus. by Paul Meisel. 80p. Bloomsbury. Mar. 2017. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781619638839.

K-Gr2—It is a quiet morning out at sea, and Captain Fishbeard, Stinky Spike, and all their pirate friends are busy taking a nap, but that changes when the ship crashes into and destroys King Seabreeze’s royal vessel. The king is furious and locks all the pirates away in the dungeons—which is not a great place to be cooped up with Stinky Spike, the smelliest dog on the high seas. However, their luck begins to change when Princess Petunia seeks out the best sniffer around to help her locate her lost pup, Honey. Stinky Spike takes charge and lends a paw. But finding Honey is harder than Spike and Princess Petunia thought. With help along the way, the two travel the high seas to recapture the lost poodle from Captain Bart and his band of blustering pirates. The character-driven story line is simple, yet there is a complexity in the wonderful sensory language. The color illustrations aid comprehension and support and extend the text on each page. VERDICT This is a must-purchase for libraries with growing or solid collections of early reader chapter books. 

From Kirkus:

A pungent pup must prove his worth to a bumbling piratical crew. Any owner of a rambunctious pup will instantly recognize a kindred spirit in shipyard pup Spike's predilection for noxious smells. He's the proud owner of the world's most powerful proboscis, and any stink stunning to the olfactory centers is his delight. Employed to protect the cargo of incoming ships, Spike gets more than he bargained for when his pursuit of a colony of sea gulls lands him in the briny deep. A bucket of rotting fish bits proves his salvation but does his personal hygiene little good. Rescued by human Fishbeard and his scurvy buccaneers, Spike promises them that he can sniff out some treasure in exchange for a ride home. Unfortunately what dogs consider treasure and what people consider treasure are two entirely different things. Though pirate animals sniffing out treasure are hardly new characters (viz. Cornelia Funke's The Pirate Pig, 2015), there's a jaunty joie de vivre to Spike's love of all that reeks. A true transitional book, the text is perfect for children working their way up to full chapter books. Paul Meisel's full-color illustrations help liven up son Peter Meisel's short chapters, and the story will keep readers guessing. Sequel Stinky Spike and the Royal Rescue publishes simultaneously. Cast off, me hearties, and meet a dog that brings both the yo ho hos and the nose. (Adventure. 7-9) 

Stinky Spike and the Royal Rescue: 978-1-61963-883-9

Kirkus and SlJ reviews for After the Bell Rings...

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Poems About After-School Time
Author: Carol Diggory Shields
Illustrator: Paul Meisel

Review Issue Date: November 15, 2014
Online Publish Date: November 4, 2014
Pages: 32
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8037-3805-8
Category: Poetry

Twenty-two light poems and accompanying illustrations explore what happens after school.Veteran author-illustrator duo Shields and Meisel team up again (Someone Used My Toothbrush and Other Bathroom Poems, 2010, etc.) to depict the full spectrum of fun to be had after school lets out. Looking at what typically happens at the end of the school day—homework, snacking, being reunited with pets, car pools, texting friends, a little instrument practice—Shields and Meisel paint a realistic portrait of how kids feel about these activities. From the opening pair of "2:48" poems, Shields quickly establishes the collection's light, edgy tone, showing how student and teacher alike often find the last two minutes of the day "the slowest of all." By week's end, Shields cleverly uses end rhyme to highlight the irony to be found in a "Friday Night" sleepover: "We call it sleeping over— / That's not exactly true. / We bring along our sleeping bags, / But sleep? Not what we do." Throughout the volume, Meisel's dynamic, childlike mixed-media illustrations effectively underscore the child's perspective these poems so often provide. But occasionally Shields also shares some important advice as a former child, enlightening young readers as to the dangers of saying, "I'm bored!" to one's parents or trying to mask unauthorized video game usage behind a beatific smile. Smart and sassy poems and accessible illustrations combine for an engaging, humorous package. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)



SHIELDS, Carol Diggory. After the Bell Rings. illus. by Paul Meisel. 32p. Dial. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803738058. LC 2014002797.

Gr 2-5–In 22 colorfully illustrated poems, Shields captures multiple perspectives on the favorite part of many kids’ school day—the end. The book opens with the anticipation of the dismissal bell from the perspective of the students and the teacher. Readers will connect with the familiar scenario of feeling “like the clock on the wall has stopped.” From there, the poet explores some of kids’ extracurricular activities. “Level 5” shows the realistic struggle between a desire to play video games and the obligation to do one’s homework. Shields’s lines will resonate with readers (“She put her hand on the warm TV. ‘Guess what, kid? You’re busted.’”). “Manga” is a cleverly written poem that will leave some children scratching their heads because of its right-to-left text flow. “Txt msgs” is a conversation poem written in text-speak. Shields even includes a verse about the dangers of saying “I’m bored,” which leads to a never-ending chore list. The eye-catching artwork done in acrylic, gouache, and colored pencil is sure to appeal to many readers along with the humor, rhyme, and universal topics.–Andy Plemmons, David C. Barrow Elementary, Athens, GA

Library Media Connection

Here is an excerpt (must be 50 words or less for copyright purposes before Nov 1) of a review of Swamp Chomp by Lola Schaefer from the November/December issue of Library Media Connection. It is a "recommended" book.

Schaefer, Lola M.

Swamp Chomp

Illustrated by Paul Meisel. 2014. 32pp. $16.95 hc. Holiday House. 978-0-8234-2407-8. Grades PreK-2

In brilliant shades of green, this book opens with a double-page spread of open-mouthed swamp animals, each ready to gobble the next creature in the food chain. The bold illustrations provide exquisite detail of swamp life, and simple three-word phrases describe the actions.


New Stories for Newtown

Newtown Illustrator Ross MacDonald and Booth children's librarian Lana Bennison organized this event for the second year following the tragedy in town. Joe McKendry, an educator and author/illustrator from the Boston area, had organized an event in Boston last year after the bombing where illustrator's drew a picture of a child's favorite stuffed animal. He organized a similar event here in Newtown which I participated in. There were a number of other events in town attended by authors and illustrators Alan Katz, Sarah Littman, Gail Carson Levine, Jennifer Thermes, Jarrett Krosoczka, Dan Yaccarino, Karen Romano Young, Nathan Fox, Kristine Humber, Dingding Hu, Katrina Kopeloff, Kelly Murphy, Steve Brodner, and Antoine Revoy.

Booklist Review of Swamp Chomp

Schaefer, Lola M. (Author) , Meisel, Paul (Illustrator)

Apr 2014. 32 p. Holiday, hardcover, $16.95. (9780823424078).

With a short, staccato text and colorful illustrations, this picture book portrays life in a swamp. Each of the opening scenes includes only one short phrase, such as “Fish glide. Guard” and “Turtles bob. Dig.” The pace quickens on the center spread, where the text reads “Hum / Simmer / Bellow / Drone / Splash /Scratch” as a number of animals spring into action above and below the water, some chasing their prey, others trying to elude their predators. This sets the tone for the second half of the book, in which many swamp animals catch and eat smaller critters. The endnote, which briefly comments on swamps and food chains, is memorably illustrated with a line of animals (alligator, turtle, frog, bass, crayfish, dragonfly, mosquito) with gaping jaws, each intent on eating the smaller one beside it. A similar line of animals spirals across the endpapers. Created with ink, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, and pastel, Meisel’s lively illustrations capture swamp life without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing it. A colorful addition to classroom units on swamp ecology, food chains, and predation.

— Carolyn Phelan

Kirkus review for Light Is All Around Us

Inquiring minds in primary grades can gain understanding about a seemingly ever-present subject in this title about light in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series.

light all around.jpg

Pfeffer begins her straightforward text by discussing sources of light from the sun and stars, as well as those powered by electricity. Soon readers are discovering how light travels to Earth from the sun 93 million miles away. The challenging concept of how fast light travels is made clear by Meisel’s appealing spreads comparing the speeds of various vehicles (car, plane, etc.) to light. The notion of measuring a particular light’s brightness in lumens unfolds alongside a series of spot illustrations showing how length, time, temperature and weight are measured. Bioluminescent creatures, such as common fireflies and the more exotic glowing octopus, get a quick mention before an accessible and informative explanation of how the eye works is impressively executed by both author and illustrator. Simple experiments proving how necessary light is to living things and suggested activities about shadows are provided at the title’s conclusion. A note states that this book “meets the Common Core State Standards for Science and Technical Subjects.” Newly independent readers will appreciate how closely the pictures reflect and extend the text, while younger students will gain much from listening to the book read aloud and poring over the details on each page.

An illuminating choice for the science shelf. (notes on experiments) (Informational picture book. 5-8)


School Library Journal (Oct 8)- "Great Beginnings/Books for Emergent Readers


See Me Dig 240x300 Great Beginnings | Books for Emergent ReadersPaul Meisel’s mischievous mutts returns in See Me Dig (all Holiday House, 2013; PreS-Gr 2), an easy reader that utilizes limited vocabulary and very short sentences but takes it to the next level with a more complex plot and surprising twists and turns. Members of this canine crew love to dig, and their frenzied activity earns them the ire of forest animals, leads to the unearthing of a treasure chest (and release of pirate ghosts), and ends with an encounter with a kindred spirit (a construction excavator).

Packed with humor and dynamic detail, the cartoon artwork masterfully supports and expands the text. Simple yet satisfying, this funny romp can be used to discuss story elements (including setting, characters, and major events) and boost the confidence of novice readers.