HONKERS

With Mama in bed waiting for the new baby, Betsy is sent to her grandparents. She's old enough to remind Grandy not to call her "Little Bit"; still, she takes her silky blanket. In Grandy's barn are three wild-goose eggs. Waiting for them to hatch (how a blanket keeps them warm is not explained) helps pass the time while the pile of letters from Mama mounts; once the eggs do hatch, Betsy shares her beloved silky with the goslings. At summer's end, Mama's letters fill two boxes; the geese (in a poignant parting) fly south; and Betsy sets out to meet the new baby—without the silky. Gracefully, Yolen interweaves carefully selected details to depict a well-loved child maturing during a necessary separation. Setting the story perhaps a hundred years ago, Baker focuses on its warm emotional content, placing her expressive figures in barely suggested impressionistic scenes rendered in misty browns and grays. A lovely, beautifully crafted book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-316-96893-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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