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

HATCHING SHAREY

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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ABIYOYO RETURNS

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 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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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