Reviews for Argus


Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
When Mrs. Henshaw hands out eggs for her students to hatch in their desktop incubators, Sally points out that hers looks different. The teacher replies, "Don't be difficult." Determined to complete the science project, she overlooks the obvious in the events that follow: a green, dragonlike creature (Argus) hatches from Sally's egg; grows to an enormous size; and threatens to eat the "other chicks" and even the kids themselves. When Argus gets lost, though, the whole class goes to the rescue. With deadpan storytelling that serves the humor well, the writing concentrates on classroom activities and Sally's reactions. Argus' true identity goes unmentioned in the text but is unmistakable in the pictures. Children are left to draw their own conclusions. With clean lines and muted colors, the ink-and-watercolor artwork illustrates the story in a most engaging way, magnifying the humor but keeping the absurdity in check. This pleasing picture book is fun for reading aloud. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Each of Mrs. Henshaw's students receives a chicken egg to study for science. Sally's "looks different," and it hatches into a dragon. Knudsen's text includes lots of humor ("Don't be difficult," repeatedly responds Mrs. Henshaw whenever Sally indicates her hatchling's divergent and destructive qualities). Wesson, using impeccable lines, expertly details the implements and appliances of a grade-school science project. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 December #2
A class science project raising baby chicks becomes a memorable lesson in tolerance when one "chick" is decidedly different from the others. As Mrs. Henshaw distributes small, buff-colored chicken eggs, Sally notices that her large green egg with yellow spots "looks different." After her egg hatches into a scaly green critter with big yellow eyes, Sally's classmates respond with "Ewww." Calmly, Mrs. Henshaw replies: "Some chicks just, uh, look different." Sally names her "chick" Argus and finds him a handful, especially when he tries to eat the other chicks as well as her classmates. She wishes she had a cute fluffy chick until Argus disappears and she misses him—a lot. Precise, detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations portray Argus as a wild and wily but endearing green dragon whose very presence in the classroom adds a surprising, hilarious dimension to the text, stretching the concept of "different" to the limit. Kudos to unflappable Mrs. Henshaw, Knudsen and Wesson. With his expressive ears, wings and tail, naughty Argus will capture attention and hearts. (Picture book. 4-7) 
Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 May/June
Science projects take on a whole new look in this book. Sally's class gets eggs to hatch, but hers looks different from the others. When Sally questions the appearance, her teacher tells her, "Don't be difficult. Some eggs just look different." That refrain appears several times in the book. When Sally's egg cracks open, her "chick" has green scaly skin and big yellow eyes. Sally names it Argus. As the children weigh, measure, and graph their animals, Argus continues to be unique. Sally feels apprehensive about her "chick," but when he disappears, she realizes that she has come to love him. She is thrilled when they find Argus. The graphs on the last page capture her emotion. This book makes a fun read-aloud. The watercolor and ink illustrations capture the humor of the situation and provide details that support the text. The pictures alone offer entertainment, so non-readers will enjoy the book, too. Recommended. Marge Cox, Media Specialist, Veterans Memorial Elementary School, Napl s, Florida ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 November #5

Sally's green, polka-dotted science project egg should have produced a fluffy chick like her classmates' eggs, but it cracks open to reveal a dragon instead; she names him Argus. She needs three pieces of paper for his growth chart, and while her classmates' chicks peck sweetly in the yard, Argus chews "a giant hole in the ground with his teeth." Yet when Argus disappears, Sally grows worried. Her peppery science teacher, Mrs. Henshaw, becomes an unexpected ally (her orange traffic cones and brisk "Don't be difficult" are the story's leitmotifs); in the end, Sally grows to love having a companion that's not like anyone else's. Wesson's (the Evangeline Mudd books) watercolors of the tubby Argus are wonderfully goofy, especially when he's galumphing incongruously through Sally's classroom ("He stopped trying to eat the other chicks. He started trying to eat the children instead"). Knudsen (Library Lion) never overplays her hand, but lets the story's laughs unfold naturally from the characters and circumstances. Her grasp of the life of the elementary school classroom is spot-on; this should become another favorite. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 February

K-Gr 3--It's science project time in Mrs. Henshaw's class, and when all the eggs have been distributed for placement in the desktop incubators, Sally notices that hers is different. "Don't be difficult," responds her teacher. This mantra is uttered to children and adults alike whenever an objective observation threatens to alter her universe. All of the other chicks are yellow, fluffy, and diminutive; Sally's is green, scaly, and off all growth charts. Argus and Sally are banished to a remote corner of the playground, after the dragon's "pecking" causes dangerous craters. When he disappears, Sally "waited to feel relieved. She waited to feel happy." In the ensuing scenes, Knudsen's heroine grapples with her conscience, her emotions, and the notion of being different, emerging with a newfound peace and strength when the lost is found. Wesson's lanky, gawky watercolor and ink caricatures capture the fragility of childhood, and the understated telling provides space to grapple with one's own navigation through episodes of unenlightened authority. Children will relate to the drama while enjoying the humor found in both text and illustration. The compositions are full of the clutter and chaos one might expect with chicks and a dragon residing there. For another tale concerning the depth of youthful compassion and intelligence in contrast to their classroom leaders, try Paul Fleischman's The Dunderheads (Candlewick, 2009).--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

[Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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