IT'S A SPOON, NOT A SHOVEL

A manners manual for etiquette-minded children in the '90s, in multiple choice. Like its much earlier predecessors, Seslye Joslin's What Do You Say Dear? (1958) and Jo Ann Stover's If Everybody Did (1960), this book uses humor to sweeten moral instruction. Through a quiz format, readers are supposed to select the correct response to various behavioral predicaments. For example, when Arvin Anteater offers Arlo Anteater his own anthill, the correct response is: a) ``Outta my way, Blubberbutton!'' b) ``There's a full moon tonight,'' or c) ``Thank you.'' The level of text's funniness may depend on the age brackets of the readers; the bulbous, color-laden illustrations will keep all ages entertained. Bright hues, weird angles, hidden pictures, and comic details (note the red-hooded heroine in the background of the wolves' tale) make the intriguing pictures fun to examine. In one, while the text cautions Walter Warthog not to talk with a full mouth, the illustrations show an eyeful of the mouthful. It could be that the best part of books on this subject is the vicarious glimpse of a mannerless world. Great guidelines for children in the formative years. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-8037-1494-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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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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TO MARKET, TO MARKET

A marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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