This offbeat tale delivers a winning mix of quirky humor, real-life dilemmas, plot-propelling canine aeronautics, and a dash...

A Scary Tail


From the Max The Flying Sausage Dog series , Vol. 3

Taking a new way home from the park, 7-year-old Tom encounters a trio of “not very nice blokes” and fears the worst. But the three bullies, rather than harassing Tom and his “sausage dog, Max” (who can secretly fly, thanks to his rotating tail), look frightened, cross the street, and take off running. Tom realizes that he is standing in front of the eerie house that is home to a mysterious someone known to his peers as the “Wicked Witch of Windy Way.” When Tom learns that the “Witch” is in reality Miss Amersham, a lonely old woman whose own beloved dachshund has died, he decides to keep it to himself, show up the bullies, and fulfill a Cub Scout goal by cleaning up her tangled garden. How Tom solves his bully problem involves Miss Amersham’s discovery of Max’s secret and her illuminating advice, his mom’s clean laundry, a nighttime campout, and the dachshund’s tail-whirling enthusiasm for grilled sausages. This is the latest book in the “Max” series about an English boy and his special pup by O’Driscoll and Kelley (Tails From the Pound, 2015, etc.). Although it offers less sly, poke-in-the-ribs humor than the authors’ previous volumes, the genuine fun and unsentimental charm in the telling remain intact. Robins’ eccentric full- and partial-page illustrations—a fluid line, rich in detail and color—are again a delight, balancing sweetness and comedy with expert artistry and wit. The authors again include a page of words and phrases unfamiliar to young American readers: “Working a treat” means something is working very well. Dachshund is pronounced “dash-hound.” “Y-Fronts” are boys’ underwear. As before, the last page offers a captioned photo of the real, now-departed Max.

This offbeat tale delivers a winning mix of quirky humor, real-life dilemmas, plot-propelling canine aeronautics, and a dash of compassion.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972284-2-7

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Words In The Works LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2016

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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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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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