JUDGE RABBIT AND THE TREE SPIRIT

A FOLKTALE FROM CAMBODIA

A young couple's peace is destroyed when the husband is commanded to join the king's defense of their country. Overhearing his sorrow, a tree spirit decides to impersonate the young man and comfort his wife. All goes well until, months later, the husband comes home and the wife finds it impossible to tell which man is her true husband. At first, the rabbit judge decrees that—since the two are indistinguishable—all three must live together. Later, he comes up with a trickier solution: only the real husband will be able to fit in a little bottle, he mendaciously alleges; the spirit quickly complies and is caught. A note explains that Judge Rabbit stories provide a role model for Cambodian children: the good judge is self-confident and intelligent, yet also gentle and kind. Children may be unaware of the implicit message, but they'll enjoy the unusual story—especially its satisfying conclusion. A plus: the Khmer text is included, nicely integrated into the bright, strongly decorative illustrations. A good picture book for any collection, with special appeal for multicultural use or with immigrant populations. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 15, 1991

ISBN: 0-89239-071-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1991

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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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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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