Cummins (Tomboy of the Air, 2001, etc.) gives us her take on the comparison of country life to city life in this typical, but cheerful, rendering. Readers follow the lives of Ben, who lives on a farm, and Jody, who lives in an apartment building, as a side-by-side description of each child’s daily routine unfolds. When Ben wakes up he hears the sounds of birds and cows. When Jody wakes up she hears horns and sirens. Ben gets his mail at a mailbox down the road. Jody gets hers in the lobby of her apartment building—and so on. The author’s simple language has an instructional feel and so do Rand’s (Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove, p. 345, etc.) skillfully detailed and literal watercolors. This combination comes off as a bit monotonous, but very accessible. What gives the narrative a nice twist is how Ben and Jody’s lives intersect towards the end. Every summer Ben goes away to Camp Eagle Ridge. Then readers find out that Jody “is excited about her first time at Camp Eagle Ridge.” The two meet at the camp, become friends, and afterwards Ben sends Jody a map of constellations he can see from his bedroom window. She sends him a city street map and marks her favorite places. Country life and city life seem as similar as they are different, but young readers might side with country life. Ben gets to cut down his own Christmas tree in the forest instead of buying it on the street like Jody. Ben also goes to Camp Eagle Ridge every year. What’s more, he has a dog. There’s something here for both kinds of kids to think about. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6467-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2002

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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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A sweet, lyrical book perfect for bedtime sharing.


The interconnectedness of humanity shines throughout this affirming picture book from singer/songwriter Di Franco.

An unnamed young character sits patiently while their mother plaits their long hair; the child describes in rhyming couplets their visible traits, such as their hair, skin, and eyes, all warm shades of tan and brown like those of their family. But the narrator is more than how they look—beneath the surface is something they call “The Knowing.” The child goes on to share more about their life, from charming details like their slightly torn favorite blanket to the games they play with friends. All the while the narrator tries their best to explain that The Knowing is a common element that draws us all together. Though the concept of The Knowing may be a bit subtle and cerebral for the intended audience, the poetic beauty of Di Franco’s writing more than makes up for that potential criticism. The message is lovely and delivered gently, and the author makes a familiar theme—the focus on inner life—feel fresh and new. The protagonist and their family present as South Asian in Mathew’s soft, tender watercolor, colored pencil, and charcoal illustrations. Glowing with the gentle love of the main character’s friends, family, community, and self, the artwork beams with assuredness—the embodiment of Di Franco’s words. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, lyrical book perfect for bedtime sharing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-38375-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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