A good message excellently illustrated.

RAISING A HERO

A puppy named Max explains how he’s being trained as a service dog in this children’s picture book.

Unlike most puppies, Max, who appears to be a golden retriever, has plans: he’s going to become a service dog. Such dogs can “open doors, turn on lights, and even take off someone’s shoes,” Max explains. Max’s puppy raiser and best friend is Sam, a redheaded white boy. Sam teaches Max the basics of behavior, plays with him, bathes him, and takes him for walks in his special yellow vest. Max can meet other dogs and people while practicing staying focused among many distractions. Once a week they go to puppy kindergarten, where Max learns simple commands like “visit.” Also, Max enjoys the privileges of service dogs, like getting to go on the bus, into the library, or even to the movies. Though Max knows he’ll miss Sam when it’s time for him to leave, he can’t wait to start helping someone who needs him because “that’s just like being a HERO!” Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Brownie, 2016, etc.) gives children a good introduction to the concept of service dogs, explaining why these animals are necessary and the kinds of help they provide. Another plus is that by focusing on a puppy who’s still learning but has goals, kids can identify with Max and the pride involved in mastering skills. The appealing, softly colored illustrations nicely capture the affection between boy and dog.

A good message excellently illustrated.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9965518-1-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cleverkick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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