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IF YOU COULD ASK YOUR DOG ONE QUESTION…

Dog lovers will enjoy this imaginative exploration of a canine’s perspective.

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A girl ponders the perfect question to ask her dog in this rhyming picture book.

First engaging the audience with the title question, the young narrator of this story explains: “I often wonder what I would ask / if my dog could answer me.” On each spread, illustrations show the pair’s adventures, accompanied by the girl’s musings on her dog’s opinion of events. What is the reason her canine collects sticks when they play outside? Does the animal’s fur coat get too warm? Would the dog rather go for a short walk or a long drive? While many of the questions seem like universal canine owner ponderings, others are more existential—such as whether the pooch has a sense of time. Finally, the girl decides on a question about the love she and her dog share. Though the pet can’t speak, readers will be left with the impression that she’s gotten her answer to that very important question. Messina skillfully captures both the voice of a dog owner and the perspective of a child in her phrasing, accessible vocabulary, and the types of questions the girl asks. Pavliuk’s mixed-media illustrations offer clear linework in cartoonish images with rich watercolor hues. The unnamed canine is expressive, both in calm moments and frantic ones, and the love between the light-skinned girl and her pet is evident on each spread.

Dog lovers will enjoy this imaginative exploration of a canine’s perspective.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: My Human “N” Me, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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