Meticulously crafted, fanciful but never too sweet, this magical adventure hums along pleasingly.




A charming contemporary fantasy that sees teenager Zo grapple with her stubborn Ukrainian grandmother Baba Dolia.

In southern Alberta, Canada, cowboy Vince Lapin knows firsthand that rodeo riding is dangerous work. Audiences, however, want more entertainment. The summer solstice on June 21 finds him watching rodeo clowns audition. When a rider suddenly goes down and is at the bull’s mercy, a young woman runs to him out of nowhere. Quickly pulling the rider to safety, she saves both their lives. Vince suspects she’d be perfect as a rodeo clown. Cut to a central Alberta poultry farm. Yuli and Iryna are trying to tell their teenage daughter, Zo, that life will be different when her grandmother comes from the Ukraine to live with them. But Zo has only one thing on her mind: rabbits. To smooth the transition to life with Baba Dolia, Zo’s parents buy her a bunny named Susie. Zo, for her part, is elated and ready to help her grandmother settle in. Then Baba Dolia arrives—along with her huge, ferocious dog, Perun. Worse, the elderly woman is grouchy, demanding and has little tolerance for a verminous rabbit on the premises. Susie gets caught in the middle of a generational feud that takes a shockingly magical turn. With remarkable sleight of hand, author Stringam connects events on the farm with the rodeo scene that opened the novel. The first hint that things aren’t what they seem comes when Vince uses poetic spoken magic: “Swiftly running winds of eternity flowing into lovely zephyr of summer blossoms.” Susie, when she talks, often says similar things, proverbs she calls “rabbit-lip.” In segments from the critter’s perspective, readers learn that she aspires to be an Easter Bunny, delivering dyed eggs in the Ukrainian pysanky tradition. Frequently, Stringam proves an expert on real rabbits as well as the Calgary Stampede rodeo, as she layers the perfect amount of detail into what is essentially Zo’s wondrous coming-of-age tale, one that new readers and devotees of magical realism shouldn’t miss.

Meticulously crafted, fanciful but never too sweet, this magical adventure hums along pleasingly.

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0985554002

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Dollison Road Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet