An appealingly offbeat book with a strong message about appreciating unusual thinking.


A creative youngster solves a field-trip problem in this picture book about valuing what makes a person unique.

A human child doesn’t know exactly why everyone calls them Meow: “Maybe it’s because I get bored easily,” they say, like a cat does. Meow’s snarky, unnamed feline thinks it might be because of Meow’s hat, which has catlike ears. Meow’s teacher, Ms. Snickety, believes that Meow doesn’t listen; “I just listen differently,” Meow explains. On a field trip to see wildlife, the teacher gives each child a banana to offer monkeys, who take every single banana—until Meow, who believes that “sharing is caring,” takes the fruit back in an epic chase and eventually uses a cannon to fire the fruit skyward so everyone can have one. Tills offers a celebration of kids whose brains work differently. Meow is coded as neurodivergent, though it’s never discussed in such terms; the idea that Meow approaches things differently than others do, though, comes through clearly. The author uses short sentences and accessible vocabulary in Meow’s first-person narration, which feel authentic. Saladrigas’ cartoon-style, full-color art perfectly matches the text’s whimsical tone, even incorporating an imagined duck and dinosaur into Meow’s adventure. The iconic yellow cat-hat adds an extra level of expression with changing ear positions.

An appealingly offbeat book with a strong message about appreciating unusual thinking.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73670-048-8

Page Count: 44

Publisher: FDI Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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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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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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