An evocative nod to the power of lateral thinking and flights of fancy.

WATCH OUT FOR THE CROCODILE

A redheaded pixie takes to the woods with her father in hopes of seeing cavemen and other wild things.

“All Dad does is work,” says Tora, the pint-sized narrator. “He is a very boring father.” Gee, what does a guy have to do to cop a break? Take his wee one to the forest, for a start; in the green gloaming of the trees live great and fearful creatures, which are just Tora’s cup of tea. And if it turns out that their forest has more ants, squirrels and woodpeckers than hyenas and Bigfeet, then it is time for a little blue-sky thinking: That root is a boa constrictor (or maybe an anaconda), that hump of rocks is a crash of hippos, and that copse of birch trees is a tower of giraffes. (In the book, the congregation of giraffes is referred to as a flock, which may have something to do with the book having been originally written in Swedish.) All it takes is looking the right way, Tora tells her father, who is caught on his GPS or cellphone once too often. The artwork is deft and atmospheric, with a delicacy that lets the creative imagination loose. When it comes time for the father to show his stuff, he doesn’t let Tora down, boring as he is, with a water dragon. A water dragon “only eats fish fingers,” he assures her.       

An evocative nod to the power of lateral thinking and flights of fancy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-877579-89-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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