THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA

This simplified retelling of Andersen’s classic fairy tale is relocated from Europe to Africa, bright collages evoking the many hues of the continent. Isadora’s technique is reminiscent of Eric Carle’s, brightly painted papers showing vigorous brushstrokes cut and arranged against a white background mingling with printed papers in a celebration of color. For much of the narrative, the prince’s search for a “real” princess is downplayed in favor of “rightness,” a pleasingly contemporary angle that is lost when the last princess shows up and the tale resumes its traditional track, her sleepless night on the sabotaged mattresses revealing her real-princess sensitivity. Where this treatment goes dangerously wrong, however, is in the portrayal of the three rejected princesses who precede the mattress-princess: The first wears a series of rings that elongate her neck; the second is very dark and tattooed all over; the third is darker yet, overweight by Western standards and wears a dead fish on her head. The successful princess sports buoyant dreadlocks and physically adheres to an American norm. By thus exoticizing the rejected princesses, the tale does an enormous disservice to readers and continent alike. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-399-24611-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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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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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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