ANANSI AND THE MAGIC STICK

Anansi the Trickster meets the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in this story loosely based on a Liberian folktale. While the other animals are busy tending their gardens and cleaning their homes, Anansi is sleeping. But when they tease him for being lazy, he says he is hard at work thinking and will have to find a new place to sleep, that is to think, for all the noise they are making. What he finds is Hyena’s house, which is always neat and tidy, no matter how Hyena sleeps away the day. Spying on him, Anansi sees Hyena recite some magic words to a stick, which then does his chores for him. The sly spider decides that this stick could help keep his neighbors from laughing at him for his poor housekeeping. All goes well for a time until he decides to have the stick tend his garden. When he falls asleep, the overzealous stick is watering the garden. Without Anansi to stop it, the stick’s watering goes from a trickle, to a flood, to a river, in which all the animals are swept away. Unable to remember the magic words, Anansi loses the stick to Hyena and must go back to thinking up new tricks. Children will delight in Anansi’s escapades as he annoys his neighbors and learns how to control the stick. Kimmel and Stevens make a good team, with the text fonts echoing the action of the story and the illustrations bringing Anansi and all his antics to life. This is their fourth Anansi collaboration (Anansi and the Talking Melon, 1996, etc.); has the tricky spider learned his lesson this time? Let’s hope not—his stories are too amusing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1443-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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