Whatever the authenticity of Steptoe's Plains Indian legend of a seeking, selfless mouse who turns into an eagle, his powerful, over-scale picturization is apt to evoke a response—at least the first time around. After that, the impact wears off, and the bathos intervenes. But there is still the pull of being down on the mouse's level, and being drawn into his world by the magic-realism of the gray-toned, double-page bleeds. Alongside, the text is prolix, the story-elements commonplace. A young mouse, hearing tell "of the far-off land," sets forth. Stopped by a river, he meets a frog—Magic Frog, she tells him—who turns him into Jumping Mouse. Also: "You will encounter hardships. . . but don't despair. You will reach the far-off land if you keep hope alive within you." He lingers for a time with a fat old mouse, who falls prey to a snake in his lassitude. Going on, he comes across a dying, blind bison—to whom he gives his sight. He comes across a helpless, unsniffing wolf—to whom he gives his sense of smell. At last, having reached the far-off land, he weeps (that piteous, blind visage filling the page): "I feel the earth beneath my paws. I hear the wind rustling leaves on the trees. . . but I'll never be as I was. How will I ever manage?" Magic Frog appears, praises him, tells him to "Jump high"—and, by gosh (but not without further words), we see him outlined against the bright sky. . . and, overleaf, the bright-eyed, fierce-beaked head of an eagle. Think of it perhaps as a demonstration of art's transforming power, the weaknesses of the tale (and the telling) not-withstanding.

Pub Date: March 1, 1984

ISBN: 068808740X

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1984

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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