A charming tale of adventure and friendship.

Petey & Wolf

Petey, a lovable, hardworking donkey, goes for a wild ride in this illustrated debut children’s book.

At the real-life C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, Petey the Sicilian donkey has a pretty good life. He loves everything about his job, which includes celebrating opening day for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, greeting children and giving them cart rides, hanging out with the horses in pasture, carrying packs and tents for campers, and mostly just lazing about on his 8,500-acre home. Petey introduces readers to everything that goes on at the C Lazy U Ranch, from how the guests spend their days at the spa (Petey makes an appearance soaking in a copper tub) to how he helps protect the horses from coyotes that threaten them at pasture. When walking with the horses one day, Petey is swept into a strong river current: how will he stop himself from being carried off and away from C Lazy U Ranch? Craig’s debut is an exciting mix of education and fiction. Petey, who has a pretty busy life for such a docile creature, explains what he does on the ranch and how the whole enterprise runs—a stimulating lesson for kids and adults alike who are intrigued by horses, cowboys, and ranch life. The adventure comes into play when Petey is washed down the river and eventually saved by his pal Wolf. Both parts are enjoyable, but the story would have benefited from both strands getting equal space. As is, the educational section greatly outweighs the misadventure, so the pacing is a bit off. Petey and Wolf’s real-life friendship is heartwarming, and kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the unlikely pairing of a short donkey and a graceful horse. Pendleton’s illustrations are delightful: Petey is one cute donkey, and the images are inspired by the real C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, about 90 miles outside of Denver. Kids might be eager to book a trip so they can meet the book’s sweet protagonist in person.

A charming tale of adventure and friendship.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-615-96247-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The C Lazy U Ranch

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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