An undersea adventure that both wins and loses.

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Sharky Marky and the Scavenger Hunt

AN ALPHABETIC ADVENTURE

From the Sharky Marky series , Vol. 2

Olsen and Perry (Sharky Marky and the Big Race, 2015) introduce the alphabet in the second installment of the Sharky Marky picture-book series. 

This scavenger hunt begins with a red-yellow-green light launch that sends Sharky Marky and friends off to search the ocean for an alphabetical list of objects. Some of the objects are typically found under the sea, like barnacles and clams, which help educate young reader as to the secrets of the ocean. Other objects on the quest are typical landlubber items, like dice and tennis racquets. The narrative provides great examples of sharing by having many of the participants share their booty so that everyone can experience success. There’s one cheater, though, Octo Eddie, who neither shares nor plays fair. At the end, although Eddie has accumulated the most items, he isn’t allowed to win since he cheated, a valuable lesson that cheating to win rarely has a happy ending. Along the way, Marky also stops to help untangle Diego Dolphin from kite strings, a positive statement that Marky values friendship more than he wants to be first across the finish line. Illustrations are simple and basic, without any clutter, though some of the images are too simplistic, like the algae, which looks like a green color swatch instead of a plant. Some of the illustrations are charming, however, such as ones involving Bartholomew Beaver and his adorable buckteeth and undersea diving helmet. The story is told in rhyme, but much of the verse sounds awkward when read aloud. In addition, some of the rhymes feel random, as if they were used simply because they rhyme, not because they contribute to the story: for instance, the lobsters play tennis next to a car, so Marky can “snag a racket [sic] that sat in a jar.” The final section, in which readers can go over each participant’s list and see what they found, is a nice conclusion, particularly with the educational glossary that describes each item.

An undersea adventure that both wins and loses. 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9895712-2-7

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Olsen Images

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

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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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