A simple, useful look at community helpers.


From the Community Helpers series

A mole shares his world in this illustrated children’s book, part of a series.

Mole adores being part of his community and meeting new people, so it makes sense that this lovable creature would helm a series in which he gets to introduce and learn more about important residents of his town. In the first story, Mole and his sister, Molie, discover that two neighbors, Ratter and Rattle, have been raiding their mother’s vegetable garden and stealing the yield. Mole reports the perpetrators to the police. The culprits get a distinct talking to in jail and an important message about the police and how they enforce laws. In the second tale, Mole and his family visit the local baker, where Mole takes a hands-on approach to finding out how he makes the delicious treats the clan nibbles on. In the third and final story, Mole, Molie, and their parents take their sick pup to the veterinarian, and it’s in her office that they observe the many animals she takes care of, from bright parrots to cuddly hamsters. In each tale, Sarna (Mole Witnesses a Miracle in Nature & Explore the World of Frogs with Mole, 2016, etc.) showcases important members of Mole’s society. The baker, veterinarian, and police are all figures that young readers can see working in their own towns, and gleaning more information about these key neighbors should delight many children, depending on their areas of interest. While the stories could use a bit more development, each one contains a valuable lesson—for instance, that stealing is wrong and laws should be followed—so there is a touch of fable here, too. But the book has capitalization errors, which take away from the fun-loving mole’s adventures. For instance, Sarna writes: “A Baker is a community helper who bakes various kinds of Breads, Cakes and Cookies. Mole and Molie loved the delicious fragrance of fresh breads and sweet cakes inside Tim’s Bakery.” Another round of editing would have polished the volume. The illustrations are vivid, if rudimentary (and the human cast, while featuring some career women, lacks diversity). But young readers should enjoy the splashes of color the images add to Mole’s straightforward tales.

A simple, useful look at community helpers.

Pub Date: March 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4828-7050-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: PartridgeIndia

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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