An intergenerational tale that celebrates both a specific tradition and the universal curiosity of children

THE SPIRIT TRACKERS

After Uncle, an Anishinaabe tracker, explains to his young nephews Tom and Will the significance of the moose to their family clan and about the Windigo, the wandering night spirit of winter, the boys are determined to become trackers like him.

Uncle opens by telling how Makwasaagim, snowshoes, help trackers to walk when there is deep snow and also why their Moose Clan respects the moose for giving them many ways to survive the harsh winters. Next, he warns them about the dangers of the Windigo so they can respect the dangers of the season. That night the sleeping boys waken to loud noises and hurry to the window but soon are frightened back to bed by a black shadow in the window. The next morning they go out and strap on their Makwasaagim to investigate, finding many signs that might prove the Windigo had been there. However, when they hear haunting animal cries, the boys prove they are true trackers. Anishinaabe Waboose’s prose seamlessly threads her people’s legends with her story of a modern First Nations family that is keeping its traditions alive. Award-winning illustrator Thisdale’s expressive and detailed illustrations add depth to Waboose’s engaging text. His mixed-media paintings successfully blend the traditional and the modern, the comfortably familiar and the uncanny, to support the story’s themes.

An intergenerational tale that celebrates both a specific tradition and the universal curiosity of children . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-92708-311-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fifth House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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