AUNT MINNIE AND THE TWISTER

Aunt Minnie is back, and if this time her story seems a bit rudderless, she is no less the epitome of good sense and protectiveness. Her nine charges, children of her late brother and his late wife, are getting bigger and the house is getting smaller, but as Minnie observes, “Well, we don’t have much room—but we have each other.” Readers learn how Minnie uses a great clanging bell to get her nieces’ and nephews’ attention. And that in the spring they use one of Minnie’s dresses on a scarecrow to frighten the crows; in summer, they bottle their vegetable harvest for the coming winter—Minnie abides as a systematic force. In the autumn, they make apple butter and apple cider and stow the storable vegetables in the root cellar. Boy do those veggies taste good in the dead of winter, and boy are they glad they have that root cellar—snakes, toads, and all—when the next spring a tornado drops in for a visit. Plum spins their house right on its axis, which serves as an occasion for them to build that necessary addition (“We can’t have the front door looking straight out yonder at the johnny house”). Perhaps a few too many topics get covered, and maybe the tornado scene is a bit too frantic, even for a tornado. But Lewin’s (A House Full of Christmas, 2001, etc.) watercolors are studies in warm domesticity, and Aunt Minnie continues as an Old Soul, teaching by example and ready with the comforting touch. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 22, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-11136-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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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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