A Valentine to dogs, though the message is mixed.

I WILL LOVE YOU ANYWAY

Even naughty dogs who can’t behave need someone to love them.

A small, squat dog with bug eyes and short legs with red-and-white striped sweat bands above the paws just cannot seem to do what’s right. The dog licks, bites, nips, paws, scratches, digs, messes, and steals—and that’s just on the first page of text. One of the pup’s worst habits is running away, which it does constantly, especially after it hears the grown-ups of the family (never seen) discussing how it’ll have to go. This time, though, the dog can’t find its way back, and it’s thundering. But its owner, a redheaded, bespectacled, white little child, finds it, and the adults change their tune about keeping their child’s beloved pet. But in a confusing ending to what has been a first-person account from the dog’s perspective, the text reads, “I don’t do words. / They make no sense. / I jump for joy… // …and jump the fence.” So, the dog, which obviously has learned nothing about running away, is saying it doesn’t understand anyone’s words, even though it specifically reacted to the grown-ups’ threats and it’s told the whole tale in (not bad, though repetitious) rhyme? The illustrations make clear the dog’s exuberance and sheer dog-ness, and its owner obviously loves it (except when the pooch rolls in poo).

A Valentine to dogs, though the message is mixed. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-444-92456-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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