The author of Ruby (1990) creates another charmingly original story, this time set in rural Denmark. Arne, proprietor of a fix-it shop, is reminded by the postman (who seems to have read Arne's mail) that his nephew Tove's 12th birthday is coming up; Arne will need to find a present. In the busy village market, he finds a 17-blade knife, fixes it up—then, deciding to keep it, repairs an old bike as a substitute. He's so fat that he's a precarious rider, but off he wobbles on his present—only to be greeted by Tove with his fine new bike. Never mind; the knife still in Arne's pocket makes the perfect gift, and now they can ride bikes together. Told with wry good humor and some comical repetitions (a true Dane, Arne consumes pickled herring at every opportunity), but the illustrations are the most fun: dogged, a little foolish, but endearing, Arne searches the market, labors in his shop, or careens on the bike, sometimes appearing dozens of times across a double-spread landscape as if appearing in the frames of a film sequence. Lighthearted and innovative: a story to amuse older children as well as its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-316-23411-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991


The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001


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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

Close Quickview