The simply told legend, brilliant illustrations and handsome book design combine for a compelling, important work.

TASUNKA

A LAKOTA HORSE LEGEND

Montileaux, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, adapts the legend of the tribe’s domestication of the horse in this bilingual English-Lakota edition.

A young warrior hunting game discovers a thundering herd of horses. Following them for weeks, he learns their behavior. “He wanted to catch one so that he could travel as fast as the wind.” After training the creatures, he triumphantly returns to his tribe’s camp. Using the horses for hunting, the tribe not only enriches itself, but begins to dominate other tribes. “The Great Spirit looked on in sadness. Tasunka, the horse, had been his gift to all the people. Instead, one tribe was…growing wealthy while others were going hungry, so the Great Spirit took the gift away.” Only centuries later, with the legend deeply woven into the tribe’s culture, does the horse return. (Its reintroduction is shown in scenes of the fateful migration of European-Americans across the continent.) Montileaux renders the expansive plains in greens, blues, reds and browns, intensifying color to heighten drama, as in a scene of a buffalo hunt. In one spread depicting tribal storytelling about Tasunka, a campfire illuminates drawings of horses amid evening’s purple shadows. Throughout, the striking, many-hued horses gallop, manes flowing, their powerful haunches tapering into thin, elegantly inked lines.

The simply told legend, brilliant illustrations and handsome book design combine for a compelling, important work. (illustrator’s note, further reading list) (Folk tale. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9852905-2-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: South Dakota State Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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