WOLF ROLAND

Cunningham's latest medieval allegory concerns Tegonec, who makes his living with his donkey cart, and the talking wolf who materializes by the roadside and devours his donkey, Fanfare. An incensed Tegonec ("You shall pay dearly for Fanfare. I swear you shall!") commands the wolf to pull the cart in the donkey's place, and when the wolf obeys Tegonec christens him Roland and begins to dream of being made a saint for the "miracle" of taming the wolf. This thought determines the course of his travels, for "he needed Roland in order to fulfill his destiny. The knot of pride was strong in him." The wolf runs off a couple of times to fulfill his own nature but always returns. At one point the two help a group of starving orphans escape their prison-like institution. They leave the orphans at a ruined castle with the gentle young Countess Philomele ("What lovely faces to begin a new morning"), and go on their way with the liveliest orphan, Triggot—whom Tegonec then betrays by submitting the boy's correct answer to a riddle, accepting the rich life the king gives as a prize, and forgetting the boy. But that very night he is consumed by remorse and gives up his new life to find the wolf and the boy. At 108 pages the story is relatively short, with much dialogue to keep it flowing and elemental images for guaranteed effect. But like other Cunningham stories of medieval travels, orphans, and the like, it has a frozen, sanctimonious quality.

Pub Date: March 12, 1983

ISBN: 0394958926

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more