Imaginative children should love these animal escapades—and even sticklers for realism may find themselves laughing at the...

THIS IS THE FARM

Farmyard animals engage in flights of fancy in this debut picture book.

In the clever rhyming couplets, farm animals are introduced with their inventive dreams. The pig wants to fly; the mouse wants to go on Indiana Jones–type missions; the cat plans a heist; and the sheep negotiates with aliens for peace on Earth. On the left-hand page, the creature appears in a realistic watercolor and pen-and-ink painting. On the right, a full-page illustration in the same style shows the animal’s whimsical adventure: The duck, in a tie and glasses, gives a lecture on quantum physics to a bunch of chickens; the superspy horse, dressed in a hat, trench coat, and glasses, lurks near the corner of one of the barns, carrying a briefcase. Some of the dreams are believable—the cow hovers outside the farmhouse window to watch television, and the dog cavorts in a messy kitchen—but most are extravagant fictions sure to delight young readers with their absurdities. The verse uses a simple rhyme scheme and accessible vocabulary, flowing well from page to page. But Hendrick’s humorous, beautiful, and elaborate images are the real stars.

Imaginative children should love these animal escapades—and even sticklers for realism may find themselves laughing at the antics.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-17461-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Laser Pig Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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 engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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