A kids’-book celebration of living-room adventures featuring uncomplicated illustrations.

Mighty Jack Climbs Mount Everest

Three young boys reach the peak of an imaginary adventure in Timmerman’s debut picture book.

As the book opens, Jack and his friends, Ethan and Owen, are scaling Mount Everest. While gathering their gear, they hear that a big storm is on the way and they’ll only have one chance to reach the summit. While crossing a crevasse with a wobbly ladder, Jack stumbles, but a sherpa rescues him in the nick of time. The rest of the climb is a success, and the boys cheer when they reach the summit—but they soon realize that their noise may have caused an avalanche. Luckily, the whole adventure is shown to be a celebration of make-believe: the three boys have actually conquered living-room furniture in homemade climbing gear. Timmerman describes real mountain climbing equipment while giving the characters a healthy sense of adventure and courage. Nehl’s illustrations and Timmerman’s text show the boys to be young but of indeterminate age; only the back cover text notes that Jack’s age is 4 years old. The images are understated, with simple backgrounds and muted colors, and they give the work a chapter-book feel, despite its length. The final page, on which the boys are sad that Jack’s mother may break up their game, is a letdown after the triumphant game of pretend. However, despite their expressions, the boys are clearly not the type to be kept down for long. Children will identify with the characters’ imaginative play and possibly save some of their ideas for later. Lap readers and newly independent readers will find some challenging vocabulary here (“summit,” “Sherpa,” “crevasse”), and the book would have been better served by having a glossary. However, the introduction of mountain-climbing concepts, especially in the safe context of piles of pillows and a sheet tent, may encourage young readers to check out books about real-life Mount Everest expeditions.

A kids’-book celebration of living-room adventures featuring uncomplicated illustrations.

Pub Date: July 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500122836

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2015

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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