THE BIGGEST TEST IN THE UNIVERSE

Young Sam has heard stories about the end-of-year test in Mr. Albright’s class. It’s as big as a telephone book, older students groan. Your head will look like a marble when you’re done; your arm will be in a sling. (“Some arms fall off,” shrieks one girl at Sam.) Understandably, Sam has a gathering case of the willies. Even his family is (inadvertently) undercutting his teetering confidence; his mother remembers endless reports, his grandfather remembers teachers measuring his head at the end of term—if it hadn’t grown, woe was he. Mr. Albright is as cool as a cucumber, pouring oil on troubled waters, but the waters still tremble. Poydar works her magic here, playfully kindling a little blaze under Sam’s apprehension, all the while defusing it with the goofy preposterousness of the legends surrounding the test. Said and done, Sam’s class now has their own legends to pass on: “Yeah,” said one kid to a younger one. “I know a kid who had to eat it!” The tradition continues. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8234-1944-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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A DOG NAMED SAM

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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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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