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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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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