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'LEAVE THAT CRICKET BE, ALAN LEE'

Like Barbara Dugan's (above), a book that asks the question: ``Can an insect find happiness in a jar?'' (and from the same publisher, yet). When he hears a cricket chirping, Alan Lee is determined to catch it—especially after great-uncle Clem tells him about making cricket cages as a boy in China, and that ``It's a lucky house that has crickets.'' Despite his reservations (see title), Dad helps Alan Lee fix up a jar; but when he finally catches the cricket, it doesn't take long for its silence and evident unhappiness to make the boy let it go, so that it sings once more. Porte's rather long narrative, propelled by plenty of lively realistic dialogue, artfully reveals a lot about this nice family's interaction; Ruff's tall, slim, beautifully composed illustrations, rendered in pastels and colored pencils, make an admirably warm complement to a story that's as well told as Dugan's, and more appealingly illustrated. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-11793-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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