CLEVER BEATRICE AND THE BEST LITTLE PONY

Having bested a giant in her first outing, Beatrice returns to do battle with a tiny elf. Morning after morning, Beatrice finds her beloved pony thirsty, muddy, and covered in burrs. Puzzled, her mother suggests she consult the new bread maker, who is also an expert in all things not easily explained. Surmising that it’s a lutin, a strong elf in French-Canadian tradition, Monsieur Le Pain uses his “great big brain” to think about an answer for Beatrice. While she watches him work, she comes up with her own clever solution—his footprints in the flour around the table suggest flouring the stable floor to find out if it really is a tiny lutin. Three times she visits and each time, she leaves with a trick she thinks of herself. Finally, it comes time to get rid of the pesky elf, and Beatrice does the capturing. She’s not only clever this time around, she’s also brave, doing whatever it takes to save her pony. Willey’s telling is superb, and Solomon’s watercolor illustrations are full of rich, warm color, evoking the village life of yesteryear. A must for any folk collection. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85339-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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