A silly collection of stanzas about a charming pup whose personality is ably captured in colorful pictures.

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My Super-Special, Kinda-Human Dog Named Louie

This wonderfully illustrated debut introduces Louie, a clothes-wearing, kung fu–fighting canine in the tradition of Snoopy.

Louie the Lhasa apso is a real pal to his human owner, and despite his furry exterior, he’s convinced he’s a human, too. Each spread about Louie’s adventures features six lines of rhyming verse in an AABBCC pattern. Louie learns kung fu, wins a mud run (cheered on by his teammate, the boy narrator), picks up takeout Chinese food for the family, screams at a monster movie, and dresses up as a ghost before catching a cold and needing to rest. Then he’s back in action, sailing out to live on a buoy, singing and performing piano in a concert hall, flying to Hawaii for vacation, visiting Australia, and hanging out at the zoo with his owner. The biggest drawback here is that the first line of each stanza ends with either Lou or Louie, and there’s only so many words that rhyme with those two names, leading to some less-than-stellar results: “A dinner dish favorite for my picky eater Louie / is a plate of Chinese food, especially chop suey.” There’s no real transition from spread to spread, just a scattered list of the silly things Louie does, including some awkward flirting with the Hawaiian girls on his vacation. Each stanza keeps to its pattern well, and dog-loving kids may not mind the sometimes turned about phrasing of the first two lines as they celebrate the gleefully absurd actions of the “kinda human” dog. G’s cartoonish illustrations are delightful, capturing the silliness of Louie’s activities without undermining the fun. Louie, who walks upright like a human, typically wears a purple T-shirt, unless he’s dressed for snorkeling or performing at a concert. Louie and his owner, a blue-eyed Caucasian boy, are the only two repeating characters, but the rest of the cast features characters of different ages, ethnicities, and species. In a seafaring stanza, a clever fish steals Capt. Louie’s hat.

A silly collection of stanzas about a charming pup whose personality is ably captured in colorful pictures.

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5049-1993-7

Page Count: 34

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2015

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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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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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