CLARA AND SEÑOR FROG

A little Mexican girl recognizes real magic in the work of a friendly artist. Clara yawns through El Mago’s act every night, even when he saws her mother in half: She knows it’s not magic, just trickery. But when she and her mother visit her Tía at the gringo’s house where she works, Clara sees a painting that makes her believe it is real: “That is magic!” Geeslin lets Clara tell her tale simply, her little-girl perspective allowing her to see that the Señor Frog who has fallen in love with her mother is famous, but appropriately focusing on the marvels that he paints—and teaches her how to paint, too. Newcomer Sanchez works his own magical realism into his illustrations, indicating Clara’s artistic kinship with the painter Miguel by making her even more frog-like than her mentor, her huge eyes noticing everything around her. The playful, highly saturated oils evoke the bright heat of Mexico, and exaggerated perspectives emphasizing the monumental nature of Señor Frog and his work. A quietly perceptive celebration of the synergy between observation and imagination necessary for great art. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 24, 2007

ISBN: 0-375-83613-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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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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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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