RUPA RISES THE SUN

A tale with more atmosphere than purpose, about mistaking post hoc events for genuine cause and effect. Morning after morning, in the dark and cold, while the baker and blacksmith are still asleep, Rupa gets up to stomp around her fire and make the sun rise. One morning, “with a great blister on her foot and greater frost on her mustache,” she feels the weight of her burden and shuffles off to the village elders to ask for a respite from her duty. They decide to hold tryouts for a stand-in, but neither smithy, nor baker, nor farmer can do the job, and Rupa must call the sun forth once more. After the elders ask Rupa to walk backwards around the fire to keep the sun in its heaven until she is better—it doesn’t work—they agree she can take a few days off: “The sun won’t rise on time, but we could all use the extra rest.” The next day, as Rupa snoozes, the sun rises in the east. Everyone is pleased. Litzinger’s fine and funny paintings show another time, but the labor complaints Rupa takes to management seem to fit this century. Readers may chortle over their inside knowledge of sunrises and sunsets; they also may be puzzled by the point of the story: Rupa, hitherto so responsible and so valued by the village, looks like a useless old fool, the butt of a bad joke. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7894-2496-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

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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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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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