Perhaps not a staple, but a light, fluffy read nonetheless.

PAUL BUNYAN AND BABE THE BLUE OX

THE GREAT PANCAKE ADVENTURE

In this quirky take on the tall tale, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are obsessed with pancakes, but mother knows best when it comes to nutrition.

Paul’s mom cannot feed him and Babe enough pancakes. Throwing up her beater and spatula, she finally protests, “I have fields to tend.” Paul and Babe try helping her, even though they refuse to eat the vegetables yielded. But they squish the plants with their big feet, so they are forced to leave home to seek their pancake fortune elsewhere. Cheerful gouache illustrations, which appear to be partly influenced by 1920s animated cartoons and contemporary street art, bounce with energy, driving the story forward as their adventures unfold. Paul and Babe are depicted with such bold, playful verve they could be restaurant mascots. The inclusion of colorful, hand-lettered text adds emphasis and acts as a balance to the art. In this somewhat slight retelling, their assistance clearing a logjam and the formation of both the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon are directly related to their quest to get their fill of pancakes. They succeed—and get sick, just like Mom predicted. The doctor confirms it: The cure is a balanced diet; so the two turn for home and Mom’s healthy, homegrown food.

Perhaps not a staple, but a light, fluffy read nonetheless. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0420-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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