A beautifully illustrated, informative tale with a plucky, likable protagonist.

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THE ADVENTURES OF MR. FUZZY EARS

A dog seeks friends and finds family at the Humane Society in Roberts’ debut picture book.

Mr. Fuzzy Ears gets stuck in a cupboard while trying to befriend a mouse, and chipmunks and a squirrel reject his friendly overtures. Defeated, he asks his human “mom and dad” to take him to the Humane Society to find a new friend: “They were so good to me and helped me find my Forever Home!” There, he meets various animals, including a cat named Preston whose owner couldn’t afford his medical care. Finally, Mr. Fuzzy Ears meets dogs Izzy and Sofie and knows he’s found new pals. The humans adopt them, and on the way home, they find Teddy, a stray dog by the side of the road—whom they end up adopting as well. Roberts aptly weaves the important work of the Humane Society into a sweet, engaging story. Young readers will relate to Mr. Fuzzy Ears’ quest and rejoice when he finally finds friends. The author’s realistic, painted illustrations offer lovely details, such as wispy tufts of fur and soulful, emotive eyes. Some also offer additional subtext, such as an image of a smartphone and a “Found Puppy!!” sign amid text about a search for Teddy’s owners.

A beautifully illustrated, informative tale with a plucky, likable protagonist.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-10500-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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