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ROUND AND ROUND AGAIN

This spirited book celebrates the joys of recycling. Mama is the creative force here, turning beribboned bicycle tires into basketball hoops and spatulas into roof shingles. When her zealous scavenging fills up the front yard with too many old tubas, refrigerators, sofas, and canoe paddles, her children beg her to stop. But, ever the eccentric visionary, Mama perseveres until she has built a found-object house worthy of press coverage and a marching band. Her final coup is a handmade rocket ship in which she flies her children round and round the world, emphasizing the what-goes-around-comes-around theme of the book. Van Laan (The Tiny, Tiny Boy and the Big, Big Cow, 1993) manages to keep this story light and joyful without ever getting preachy about recycling. The rhymes do not always read easily, but Westcott's funny, cartoonish illustrations keep things lively enough that it doesn't really matter. The end result is a humorous book about the afterlife of everyday objects, and a creative look at an important issue. (Fiction/Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-0009-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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