BARKUS, SLY AND THE GOLDEN EGG

Three clever chickens outwit their abductors—and save themselves from certain death—in this pro-poultry tale. Barkus and Sly Fox are introduced in the opening; Lambert’s (Little Ones Do, 2001, etc.) soft-edged vignettes show the titular cousins as they lurk about the village at night then grab their loot from a local hen house (“ ‘I would like a plump roast chicken for my supper,’ said Barkus”). But Biddy, Bluff, and Tweed have chutzpah; since the thieves have put them in a shed overnight, they also have time to hatch a plan (“No one is going to serve us with cream sauce”). Searching for a way to escape the shed, Tweed stumbles upon a box of stolen cutlery. Among the forks and knives is a golden ladle. Lambert’s double-paged, full-bleed spread reveals the ruse: Biddy sits on a nest with the rounded orb of the ladle peeking out from beneath her tail feathers. “If you eat one of us she’ll be so upset she won’t lay,” Tweed tells her hungry captor, and he decides to let them be. The tightly woven narrative moves toward a satisfying conclusion as greed causes a rift between the cousins and eventually leads to freedom for the flock. McAllister’s take on a time-honored theme is vibrant and fresh; quickly paced, the narrative is just right for reading aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-58234-764-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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