The Adventures of the Salamander - Book I - or - Slippy & the Sequence of Spontaneous Setbacks

In this new author-illustrated children’s series, a young amphibian struggles to save his home and sees the world in the process.
Slippy the Salamander lives a peaceful, protected life in Salamander Village, until a band of dastardly lizards arrives, intent on taking over the town and forcing the salamanders into slavery. True to his name, Slippy manages to slip away, but he’s then left wondering how to take care of himself and how to save his family and his village from the evil lizards. This book contains the first four volumes in a series of 10 encompassing Slippy’s adventures away from home. The series is derived from a basic story that Schmidt outlined when he was just 5 years old, which is reproduced in an appendix. Reflecting its origins as a childhood invention, the narrative has a meandering quality as Slippy encounters various friends and helpers—including Sheldon the terrapin, Mrs. Bristlebottom the hedgehog, Squeeks the mouse, Diggy the Troglodyte and others—from bog and ocean to cave and mountain. Along the way, young readers will learn about various types of creatures and their habitats, but some may have trouble separating fact from fiction since Slippy and his friends also encounter dragonlike “earth-wyrms” and trolls as well as other mysterious, fantastical creatures. The cartoonish illustrations are bright and appealing, and each illustration is accompanied by a large-print caption that summarizes the main activity of that moment in the story; early readers will be able to follow along easily, while older readers will appreciate the fuller narrative and the informational, sometimes funny footnotes featured on many pages. The series does for naturalism what the Magic Tree House series did for world history: gives it an engaging story, a sympathetic protagonist and great illustrations, which should appeal to both boys and girls from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Entertaining and educational; a welcome find for parents and kids looking to get hooked on a new series.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0985796006

Page Count: 201

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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