A whimsical delight with well-written verse, excellent illustrations, and appealing characters.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR REGINALD TUBB

A BATH-TIME SAGA IN VERSE

An aristocratic but abandoned bathtub is taken home by a family of bears in this amusing illustrated children’s book.

As told in rhymed verse, an old bathtub left to molder in the forest is taken home by a family of three bears, who are very proud of this acquisition, dubbing it Sir Reginald Tubb—although they aren’t sure of its use. Garbage bin? Peony planter? Kettledrum? Poor Sir Reginald endures many uncomfortable, undignified moments, but at last the plumber-bear arrives and connects the pipes. The bear family greatly enjoys their new bathtub, especially the cub. His imaginative games, like pretending the tub is a magic ship, please Sir Reginald as well: “For this the tub was born and bred, / His life had never been nicer.” When the drain clogs, the tub fears being discarded in the forest again, but the plumber comes to the rescue, and now Sir Reginald lives “splashily ever after.” Everything works in Schacker’s debut book. His rollicking verse is clever, fresh, appealing, and very funny. Serious matters underlie the fun, such as the tub’s loneliness and his existential dilemma (what is his purpose in life?), giving the book unexpected depth. The charming illustrations (with color by Faber) are well-detailed and dynamic as well as expressive. Seemann (Desdemona Saves the Day, 1992) manages to make a bathtub one of the book’s most animated characters. The book’s moral is a useful one: “Have faith—and call the plumber.”

A whimsical delight with well-written verse, excellent illustrations, and appealing characters.

Pub Date: April 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5450-8182-2

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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