THE LOST SAILOR

The captain's unequaled luck seems to be the result of his phenomenal powers of observation—he can even steer through fog "by instinct, by the feel of the air on the hairs of his arms and the breath of the ocean in his nose." Then, inexplicably, his luck fails, and his ship and crew are lost. Stranded on a tropical isle, he builds a house and settles in, vainly studying the chart that washed ashore with him. As an old man, beyond hope, he's rescued after the chart snaps shut, upsetting his lantern, which ignites his house to summon a passing ship. Conrad's adroit narrative has a powerful simplicity and the sure appeal of a shipwreck story, but depends a good deal on coincidence; it seems driven less by the logic of events than by their ulterior message: talent is not stronger than fate, while salvation may ironically depend on the unexpected. Egielski's island scenes are handsomely composed in his usual dependable manner, but he's not quite so handy with sea and sky—they're a bit too evanescent to he contained in his hard-edged style. Still, a book that offers more visual and literary pleasures than most. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-021695-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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