Kids are sure to ask questions about the plot holes, but others will enjoy the happy ending.

READ REVIEW

THE BOY WHO WANTED TO BE THE PRESIDENT'S DOG

Foster boy Spike, meanly called a mutt by his peers, heads to D.C. in this story of finding and belonging by Levin (Little Cheese: The Brie that Brought Sunshine to Chicago, 2013, etc.), with occasional illustrations from Mitevska (Too Many Shoes for Tenlei, 2017, etc.).

With text density appropriate to a chapter book, Levin introduces Spike, a pale boy with orange hair and freckles. Everyone calls Spike a mutt, which nice foster mom Mrs. Hope suggests is because “you look like you have a little bit of everyone in you.” Spike still thinks it’s an insult—until the new president says he wants a family dog who is a mutt, just like him. Spike takes a bus to Washington, D.C., to apply for the position of first dog, and though he gets a happy ending (he becomes a member of the first family), his aspirations never climb higher than being a pet. The tale touches on homelessness and problems of the foster care system, but the cheeky star never gives them much thought. Mitevska’s design for Spike doesn’t reflect his mixed heritage, but the contrast between him and the African-American first family shows the appeal of crossing bridges to make a family, and Levin depicts Spike’s brave adventure in an approachable vocabulary for strong independent readers.

Kids are sure to ask questions about the plot holes, but others will enjoy the happy ending.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-979967-16-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

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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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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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