MORRIS AND BUDDY

THE STORY OF THE FIRST SEEING EYE DOG

A true story, aside from snatches of invented dialogue, this account centers on a young blind man’s determination to become less dependent on the whims and charity of others. Following up a 1927 newspaper article about the use of dogs to help disabled vets in Europe, Morris Frank traveled alone from Tennessee to Switzerland—though it meant being “mailed” like a package via American Express, being locked in his stateroom at night and other indignities—to meet two animal trainers and Buddy, a German Shepard. Following a challenging but successful regimen designed to help them bond and to develop mutual trust, man and dog returned to the U.S., where they founded a school for seeing-eye teams that is still in existence. Told in simple language and illustrated with staid but competently done illustrations, much enhanced by a section of photos at the end, this serviceable alternative to Eva Moore’s Buddy, the First Seeing Eye Dog (1996), illus by Don Bolognese, imparts revealing insights both into how blind people were treated prior to the past few decades, and how complex the job of a seeing eye dog is. (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5284-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS AND STILL STANDING

Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more