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GREAT-AUNT IDA AND HER GREAT DANE, DOC

Skateboarding down the block for his weekly visit with his elderly aunt, the peppy, freckled kid, sweatband holding his squared-off red hair bolt upright, dolefully anticipates the usual tedium while Aunt Ida stops to chat with friends during their walk with her Great Dane. ``If Doc and me could have our own way/We'd get up and GO, MAN, GO!'' While he endures the sedate pace, the boy imagines what he and the dog could do if they escaped: ``rope cattle on the prairie,'' perform in a circus... But when an awesome-looking pack of strays threatens, it's Aund Ida who has the gumption to shout, `` `SHOOOOO!' And they do!'' Komaiko's perky verse, an unusually felicitous marriage of story and playful use of language keeps the story skipping along at a pace precluding any boredom in the audience, while Schindler's witty, dynamic illustrations are right in step. The huge, bumptious dog, sturdy kid, and jowly old lady (who has a twinkle in her eye from the start) make a likable trio. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-385-30682-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1994

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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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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