Early readers should enjoy this gentle picture book’s fantasy elements and its message of sibling harmony, all delivered...

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HENRY AND THE HIDDEN TREASURE

A little boy comes up with outlandish ways to protect a “treasure” in Fegan’s (The Grumpface, 2017) picture book, illustrated by Wen (The Play Tent of Imagination, 2016, etc.).

The dynamic between siblings, a frequent theme in children’s books, receives an entertaining treatment here. Henry, a young Caucasian boy, is determined to prevent his sibling, Lucy, from getting her hands on his “treasure,” or pocket money. Mom advises Henry to put his money in the bank—and to be nicer to his sister—but Henry wants a more foolproof plan, as he’s sure that Lucy has “secret ninja” talents. Pencil in hand, he designs a 10-step scheme, introducing young readers to ordinal numbers. The plan grows ever wackier, featuring giant robots, a fire-breathing dragon, and assorted monsters and superheroes. Wen whimsically depicts these flights of fancy in pencil and digital paint via two-page spreads and small, stand-alone images. Lucy seems to break through every elaborate trap (although, in reality, she merely enters Henry’s room). What she really wants, and Henry’s reaction to this revelation, provides a touching tribute to the fact that siblings can get along and genuinely care for each other—a message that isn’t always apparent in family entertainment.

Early readers should enjoy this gentle picture book’s fantasy elements and its message of sibling harmony, all delivered with a light, humorous touch.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9953592-4-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TaleBlade

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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