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A Scary Tail


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

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

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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


The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007


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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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