COWBOY SAM AND THOSE CONFOUNDED SECRETS

An agreeable, but essentially slight Texas tall tale about keeping secrets. “Might could be Cowboy Sam was the most favorite man in the whole town of Dry Gulch”—because his capacious hat has become the repository for the townspeople’s secrets. But the inevitable happens: one day, he hears one secret too many, and the hat simply will not stay on his head. Neither a stack of horseshoes nor a 25-lb. sack of oats nor the inverted weight of Cowboy Sam himself can contain the secrets, and they all come blasting out, tumbling Cowboy Sam and ripping a hole in the hat. Newcomers Griffin and Combs deliver the narrative in a Texas drawl full of hyperbolic comparisons, most of which are quite fun but some of which don’t make much sense (Cowboy Sam is “smart as an armadillo rootin’ up insects in the dark”). Wohnoutka’s (Counting Sheep, not reviewed) bright acrylics paint Cowboy Sam as a genial W.C. Fields, and the secrets are depicted as swirls of purple. Logical readers will wonder why the townspeople are so concerned about the escape of all the secrets since they still aren’t revealed to the general public. Although Cowboy Sam finally realizes he can keep the secrets in his heart, the lack of substance to the threat of the secrets’ release makes the whole plot hollow. It’s a cute concept, but the incomplete follow-through robs this story of any real interest. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-08854-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...

WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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