An amusing mystery with a cute canine protagonist.

MORNING PUPPA

A dog searches for his missing belongings and friends in this picture book.

Puppa, an Australian shepherd, can’t find his beloved teacup. It is not on the bedside table where he left it. He wonders: “Was porcelain plundered as I counted sheep?” The canine hopes to enlist his friends in his hunt for the thief, but they are missing, too. For example, his pal Matcha is not in the toy box “where I left him.” Perplexed, Puppa decides to fix himself a snack, but the kitchen is bare: Even the cabinets are empty. He is determined to catch the perpetrator, because “this doggone mess has ruined my day.” Puppa grows hungry and thirsty (“I need a hot cuppa, a muffin, a waffle”). When he smells delicious aromas, he follows his nose and discovers his friends enjoying a party: “All of my pals were here the whole time! Nothing was stolen. There was no crime.” They even saved Puppa a special seat. The pooch exclaims: “Breakfast with friends is my cup of tea!” Anastasia’s fun story features a dash of mystery that is clever and kid-friendly. Readers will enjoy following Puppa’s movements. Saunders’ adorable illustrations depict the canine’s search. The detailed party scenes featuring a table full of treats are especially delightful. The images include anthropomorphic details, like Puppa’s red scarf. They also depict elements of the dog’s imagination, such as various foods, and indicate that his pals are toys or pillows.

An amusing mystery with a cute canine protagonist.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-952425-02-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Jackal Moon Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2021

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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