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THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF

Never has this favorite tale been told with such animation and charming humor. The shepherd boy is bored, really bored. He tries to teach the sheep tricks, but they aren’t interested. He needs excitement so he cries WOLF and everyone comes running; then he cries TWO WOLVES, and the townsfolk run lickety-split to help again. And you know the rest of the story—on his third alarm, no response. Only this time there are THREE HUNGRY WOLVES, and the boy has to hunt all day for his missing sheep by himself. The last spread, wordless, shows the boy searching the pasture while the sheep are stacked up in a tree. Kulikov’s inventive watercolor-and-gouache illustrations give “sheepish grins” new dimension, as the expressions on the animals’ faces are unabashedly funny. It’s the in-your-face angles and perspectives that spin the drama, from the foot-view of the boy picking his nose to sheep-leaping to a pesky fly; even the typeface name, “Uncle Stinky,” fits the romp. Kids will cry for repeated readings of this amusing account. Ovine divine—and darn clever. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-87433-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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