With ingenuity and good will, sticks and stones can be turned to better uses than breaking bones—but the tale demands...

READ REVIEW

DAVE'S ROCK

Cavemen compare rocks, try to top each other, finally invent fun game.

“This Dave. / Dave love rock. / … / Dave’s rock bigger” than Jon’s rock. But “Jon’s rock faster” when thrown. Both pick up new rocks, with unsatisfactory results. Then Jon suggest both carve rocks into same round shape and Dave add hole in middle—make fine game tossing at upright stick! Jon and Dave go off arm in arm. Considering that Preston-Gannon starts the episode off with a quote from Mark Twain (“Name the greatest of all the inventors: accident”), the stilted language (carried over from Dave’s Cave, 2018) seems particularly affected, and the two light-skinned cave guys, with their Flintstones-style animal skins and shaggy manes (Dave’s, for some reason, is green) certainly are. Still, it’s salutary to see an escalating conflict resolved in an amicable, even creative way, and a bit of wordless byplay in which a set of forest creatures invent a wheeled scooter with the discarded game pieces adds a droll finish. The diagrams the animals draw in the dirt make an especially funny counterpoint to the dialogue.

With ingenuity and good will, sticks and stones can be turned to better uses than breaking bones—but the tale demands readers who are patient with cavespeak. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0271-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime.

WINTER MOON SONG

Quiet but joyful, this is an original story based on a traditional theme found in many cultures.

The author’s note mentions that in some Native American cultures, as well as in China, Korea and Japan, the trope of the rabbit in the moon is well-known. Brooks learned about it from a Lakota elder and then spun her own tale. A young rabbit in a northern clime learns the “Winter Moon Song.” On his way home from rehearsal for the annual performance, he stops in the woods and looks up at the image of the “rabbit-in-the-moon” and remembers the story, told by his mother, of love and sacrifice binding together the Great Mother, Creator Rabbit (imagined by Brooks), and one of her earthly creations, a little rabbit. The song continues to honor this story and is meant to “lighten the darkest month of the year with a trail of magic.” Yet the new singer is not satisfied with the performance. Instead of the churchlike place with candlelight where the rabbits gather, he starts to sing right under the moon, “with the rabbit pattern clearly visible,” beginning a new tradition. The soft watercolors, in subdued gray and deep blue, with some contrasting warm brown and golden shades, set a tranquil tone.

A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-320-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Preachy but cheerful.

SWIM BARK RUN

Three canine friends encourage one another to complete a dog-oriented triathlon.

Daisy, a little bulldog, enjoys watching her owners compete in triathlons in which they swim, ride bikes, and then run. After one such race, Daisy, eager to be in one herself, decides to create a triathlon for her doggy friends and invites dachshund Rascal, Dalmatian Hobie, and corgi Atticus to participate. Following the human version, the dogs will swim across a pond, skateboard on the sidewalk around the pond, and finally run on the wooded trail through their favorite park to the finish line. When the race’s course becomes increasingly difficult, they cheer one another on to give it their all. Daisy approaches her final big hill and almost gives in to her fatigue, climbing slowly until she is greeted by Brian, one of her owners (depicted as a white man), standing at the top, which gives her confidence to finish. With announcer Rascal’s enthusiastic affirmation—“Swim, bark, run! Did everyone have fun?”—Daisy realizes that the enjoyment of a triathlon is about setting and accomplishing goals at one’s pace. The writing is pedestrian at best, and the illustrations don’t always work with the text (one dog character is introduced visually pages before the text mentions her, for instance). Still, the affable, animation-style cartoons in verdant spring colors brighten the overall message of dogged perseverance with the aid of friendship and teamwork.

Preachy but cheerful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2696-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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