The joke’s delivery is a touch labored, but who would argue that there are benefits to having large, toothy friends on tap?...

STEVE, TERROR OF THE SEAS

When Steve the fish swims up, all the other denizens of the sea dart off at top speed. How come?

“Finding love has been a challenge,” Steve admits, but otherwise he doesn’t mind that smaller fish, bigger fish, even jellyfish and octopuses—not to mention human swimmers—retreat in terror at the sight of him. Depicted as a relatively diminutive blue-and-white–striped fish with mild-mannered pop-eyes, Steve is (or at least pretends to be) mildly puzzled, as compared to pufferfish, viperfish, and other toothier, spikier, or rather ugly denizens of the deep (“let’s not forget the BLOBFISH”), he’s not really very scary looking. For readers who aren’t all that up on marine biology Brewis inserts big fins or elongated stretches of gray along the edges of her cartoon illustrations…culminating at last in Steve’s introduction of his best friend, George, a humongous, spread-filling, blue and gray shark who disingenuously chortles, “Hey, Steve, don’t scare the fishies!” A brief “True Part” follows, revealing that Steve is a pilot fish, expanding on the “mutualistic relationship” between pilot fish and sharks and explaining, probably gratuitously, that “pilot fish are not really scary at all.” The illustrations are unsurprisingly dominated by washes of blue, translucent layers of darker blue, yellow, green, and the occasional red delineating other ocean animals.

The joke’s delivery is a touch labored, but who would argue that there are benefits to having large, toothy friends on tap? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61067-825-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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