Dog-loving preschoolers will want to hear it again and again; a good addition to a library or school’s nonfiction collection.



Dogs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly in DeBear’s picture book about therapy dogs.

Toby and Tutter are therapy dogs who work with their “human mother,” an occupational therapist for small children. They perform many activities with the children—snuggle, play ball, show them how to walk on the balance beam and slide down the slide, and help them stay calm and focused during therapy. In DeBear’s (Be Quiet, Marina!, 2001) tale, first Toby narrates and then Tutter. Toby is a big, long-haired mutt, older and more experienced. Tutter is younger, a big-eyed Italian greyhound who looks up to Toby and hopes to be just as good a therapy dog someday. The prose is simple, clear and well-calibrated to her target audience of preschoolers. DeBear doesn’t shy away from using some words that will require explanation (like “occupational therapy”), and she surrounds these words with plenty of context clues. Bright photos of the dogs in the playroom accompany the text. Young audiences will love seeing pictures of kids their age with the dogs, and the photo of Toby coming headfirst down the slide is exactly the sort of thing kids beg to see over and over again. Unfortunately, the whole thing is about twice as long as it needs to be. It’s easy to imagine the preschool set—who, as a rule, love animals and love simple, true stories about the real world—sitting in rapt attention for most of the book but losing interest toward the end. There are often too many ideas and too many words per page. Keeping track of several storylines—what therapy dogs do, Toby and Tutter’s complicated sibling relationship, Tutter’s hopes to be a trained therapy dog—may be too much for some kids to take in on the first reading. But that just means there are more details for them to pick up on when they hear it for the second, third and 10th times.

Dog-loving preschoolers will want to hear it again and again; a good addition to a library or school’s nonfiction collection.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 9780984781201

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Toby & Tutter Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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