DOUGAL THE GARBAGE DUMP BEAR

In this quirky tale about a tattered teddy’s second chance, readers follow the travails of Dougal, rescued at the dump by a truck operator. Soon, a stuffed bee named Bumble joins the forlorn bear. Silly, tongue-in-cheek outings for the pair are documented in a photojournalistic style. When the rescued toys reach 45 in number, the “big boss” puts an end to their idyllic days spent pond side. The toys ultimately find a new home by the sea—with their rescuer. Dray’s remarkably expressive photographs are arranged collage style on the pages. His sense of the absurd is underscored by the deadpan delivery of the commentary, which has a certain Australian panache; references to vegemite sandwiches, as well as exclamations of “blimey” and “bloomin” abound throughout the text. The juxtaposition of Dray’s wry narrative with his quixotic and uniquely compelling snapshots proves engaging across the generations. A heartfelt message at tale’s end regarding triumphing over adversity proves that this odd duckling of a story is truly a swan. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-929132-78-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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