JACK & JILL

THE MIRACLE DOG WITH A HAPPY TAIL TO TELL

In this true story some may find familiar from morning television, Jack begins as an abandoned puppy, newly adopted by his human mother Jill (an entertainment correspondent/animal-rights reporter) and ready to learn how to fit in and play with his canine siblings. Told from Jack’s point of view and accompanied by Solomon’s home-style photos that positively illustrate his varying experiences, this story may serve as a teaching tool to help explain serious illness, in pets or humans: With the support of Jill and strong veterinary care, Jack successfully faces bone cancer, amputation and chemotherapy, yet remains an active, fun-loving and friendly dog, eventually named “Ambassadog of Hope for Animal Cancer.” (Jack has since passed away, an aspect of the story not included here.) Children will be able to identify with the main themes, such as adoption, illness, loss, survival and adjustment, and if the text is saccharine in its faux-doggy ingenuousness, it does end with an optimistic outlook designed to provide hope. Includes information on foundations that provide treatment for illness in companion animals. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-173136-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Collins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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THE LEMONADE WAR

From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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