A helpful fable for libraries that caters to children with self-esteem issues.



A platypus can’t figure out where she fits among the other animals in this offbeat rhyming tale of self-acceptance by debut author Tran with co-illustrator Swaschnig.

A purple platypus baby cracks through a golden eggshell and waddles to a puddle to look at her reflection. Seeing her bill, she wonders if she belongs with the duck swimming nearby. But the duck has no interest in her. Downcast, the platypus digs a tunnel and encounters a mole. Could this be her family? No, the mole can’t even see aboveground. When the platypus sees a beaver’s tail, she’s no longer hopeful. But the beaver sees her potential, calling her an “interesting creature!” She teaches her to build structures and calls her Sharey, because she shares other animals’ features. Sharey starts to enjoy her own strengths and uniqueness. Tran’s rhymes aren’t presented in stanzas, so they can be difficult to scan, especially when there’s a change in rhythm. The message, however, is kinder than the one in “The Ugly Duckling,” as Sharey never goes through a transformation; she discovers that she has value just the way she is. Tran and Swaschnig’s brightly colored illustrations, featuring a cartoonish platypus, a snooty duck, and a sympathetic beaver, fit the text’s tone with spare compositions uncluttered by extra details.

A helpful fable for libraries that caters to children with self-esteem issues.

Pub Date: May 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5434-1744-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2017

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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A beautiful tribute to the uniqueness of every child: “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ ” The wind and the rain whispered the new babe’s name, causing animals all over the world to rejoice. And if ever that child thinks that he is unloved, all he need do is listen to the wind and look around at nature—they will remind him of just how special and loved he is. New parents and grandparents will get teary as they celebrate with the author the wonder and marvel that is their newborn baby, while young listeners will be thrilled at being the center of creation’s attention. Neither group will notice the uneven rhyme scheme employed in the text or the failure of the author to carry through in encouraging parent and child to interact. The focus will be on the paint-and-collage illustrations, rich in color and incorporating words from the text. Perfect for lap sharing with a beloved little one. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-9765761-0-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Darling Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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