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Grandmother knows a long, hard winter is coming and she wants one more armful of firewood. One at a time, she sends the family—son, daughter, mother, father, and baby—out, but they each come back without any wood and their clothing shredded, unraveled, or clawed. Each one claims to have been attached by a creature: “I barely escaped with my life!” To which Grandmother retorts, “That’s a far-fetched story,” and tosses the ragged item into the empty wood box. A rush of cold air prompts her to start a fire with the rags, but the cloth colors and the softness of the fabrics are so comforting that instead she reaches for needles and scissors, creating the solution for the cold winter: a “far-fetched” story quilt. Like a real quilt, this book is layered, with a satisfying story on top, good padding of pacing, rhythm, and humor in the middle, and a backing that ties the whole together, which is the actual stitching of wonderfully creative fabric and thread illustrations. A note from Carpenter (Fannie in the Kitchen, p. 410, etc.) explains that she transferred drawings and ironed them onto white linen and used colored thread to define and add details. An original tale just waiting to be told, the coloration and patterns in paisleys and plaids piece together this cozy and fetching story, one that is a delightful fabrication. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-15938-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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