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

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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