A moving tribute to shelter dogs, the humans who love them, and the wisdom of looking beyond outward appearances.

READ REVIEW

SECOND-CHANCE SAM

KING OF THE JUNKYARD

A lonely canine gets a new lease on life in this picture book.

Sam is an adult shelter dog who dreams of having a family. He wonders if the reason the young pups get adopted instead of him, when he’s already trained to fetch and sit, is because he has a crooked leg. When an elderly man who walks with a cane visits the shelter, he recognizes Sam as a kindred spirit. Sam is thrilled, but his hopes are dashed when he realizes that his new home is a small shack next to a junkyard instead of the mansion he imagined. But as the man says: “We both know that sometimes things aren’t what they seem.” Sam soon discovers joy and “treasures” at the messy junkyard, finding a purpose, friends, and love. Sam’s initial struggle to see past the first impressions of his new life, despite having been the subject of that same type of scrutiny, rings true, and the sage old man’s words form the core of this touching story. Sky’s (Santa’s Dog, 2018, etc.) rhyming stanzas scan beautifully throughout, making this an easy read-aloud for group sharing. The rescue tale also features a vocabulary that’s approachable for newly independent readers. Tatulli’s (Fireworks in the Night, 2016) playful cartoon art, populated by animals and humans of all colors and ages, captures Sam’s spirit perfectly.

A moving tribute to shelter dogs, the humans who love them, and the wisdom of looking beyond outward appearances.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9998430-4-8

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Dogs & Books

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya

A CHILD'S INTRODUCTION TO CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good...

THE CHRISTMAS SPRYTE ENCOUNTER

BAD BEHAVIOR

A cranky little girl changes her behavior after a warning from one of Santa’s helpers in this debut rhyming Christmas book.

With bushy red hair and freckles, the narrator—who appears to be age 5 or 6 in the cartoonish images—throws a tantrum to avoid going to the mall on Christmas Eve. But her scheme doesn’t work—and it lands her on Santa’s naughty list. Her grumpy antics are interrupted by Glynt P. Spryte, one of Santa’s Behavioral Elves. He’s been trying to subtly adjust her conduct for months. Now that her deeds have crossed the line, he is paying her a visit. Glynt’s dire warning (no toys!) and his lack of hope that her behavior can improve in time for Christmas give the narrator just the push she needs to clean up her act. “But the best part is this—I LIKE who I’ve become,” she says on the final pages. Crighton’s lines scan well in her series opener, using a vocabulary overly advanced for her narrator’s age. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are reminiscent of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, though the obvious message may not enthrall mischievous young readers. Glynt is a fun invention: a combination of angry and sorrowful wrapped up in a cowboy outfit. But the uncredited illustrations don’t match the story’s description (he’s called “young” and “handsome” but appears with gray sideburns and a Santa-esque figure).

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good addition to their collections.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-87-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: BookBlastPro Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

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