Tells a thoughtful, eco-conscious story with a strong female lead, ideal for kids interested in poetry and adventure.

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The Adventures of Piratess Tilly

In this picture book, an adventurous girl and her crew of orphaned boys sail the high seas and intercept a band of pirates kidnapping tortoises.

Told in haiku, Lorayne’s debut picture book, with illustrations by Watson, introduces readers to Tilly, a girl with a courageous spirit and patched jeans who sails around the world on the Foster with her crew of orphaned boys. Together with Yuki, a koala Tilly rescued from Australia, they use a compass and star chart to explore the ocean, all while cataloging, sketching, and studying what they find, including whales, birds, and other sea life. All is calm until they head to the Galapagos Islands and spy pirates kidnapping baby giant tortoises. The crew of the Foster doesn’t hesitate to act and steal onto the pirates’ ship to right the wrong. Lorayne has written a thoughtful take on the pirate genre, with a female-led crew focused on science and discovery. There’s a strong awareness of ecology, though the text also still works as an adventure. The seamlessly incorporated haiku also work well, serving as an appreciable introduction to the poetic form for young readers. In addition to being lovely poems, the haiku clearly explain the moment. For instance, “Just off the port side / Magnificence of the sea / Humpback whales surface.” With such little text, Watson’s artwork has ample space on the page to help illustrate what’s happening. The beautiful watercolors feature rich colors and intricate details. Some of the vocabulary and references, such as one to Darwin, could be challenging for young readers, so the story offers plenty of opportunities for further investigation in the classroom or at home.

Tells a thoughtful, eco-conscious story with a strong female lead, ideal for kids interested in poetry and adventure.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0692296103

Page Count: 32

Publisher: White Wave Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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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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