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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A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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