A well-known Grimm’s fairy tale is given a playful new interpretation through rhyming couplets and appealing word pictures...

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THE GOLDEN BALL

THE FAIRY TALE OF THE FROG PRINCE AND WHY THE PRINCESS KISSED HIM

In her children’s picture book, Sinclair turns a Brothers Grimm classic about a frog and a princess into playful poetry that begs to be read aloud.

In this engaging reinterpretation of the familiar Brothers Grimm fairy tale about an arrogant princess and a witch-cursed-prince-turned-amphibian, Sinclair uses rhyming iambic tetrameter couplets—“An infant princess once was born / Upon an early winter morn / So long ago and far away / Her name is lost to us today”—to tell the tale of enchantment, transformation and royal comeuppance. Sinclair manages the form evenly throughout, from the origins of the princess’ favorite toy (“Because he loved her most of all / The Sun gave her a golden ball”) to the extended happy ending—with the spell broken by a friendly kiss, the little princess and the restored prince, still children, become best friends. They play together, grow up “[a]nd as a happy consequence / They fell in love a few years hence.” In addition to introducing young readers to a classic form of poetry, Sinclair stretches their imaginations through her choice of vocabulary—the princess has a “voracious” appetite, she’s “consumed” by fear, the wily frog prince plots to “contrive” a meeting—adding interest through words and context. Visually, the tale’s characters are represented as simplistic cartoon figures, but the serviceable illustrations feature a variety of scenic backdrops, playing with textures and suggesting varied watercolor and cutout effects. Sinclair helpfully includes a “How to Read this Book Aloud” page of instructions in the back of the book, encouraging readers to enjoy the rhythmic pattern of the text.

A well-known Grimm’s fairy tale is given a playful new interpretation through rhyming couplets and appealing word pictures in this charming read-aloud, read-along book for ages 5 to 9.

Pub Date: July 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-1937186005

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chthonicity

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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 LORAX

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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