PAWPRINTS IN TIME

Butler’s first picture book is a tease: A mystery cat appears outside young Anna’s window one snowy night, and it is an old soul. “I am a cat with stories to tell” is the mute refrain that radiates from it. As Anna sleeps, the cat communicates its tales to her: “I will tell you stories of ancient Egypt,” “I will tell you stories of the long silk road from China,” “I will tell you stories of the cats who watched the rise of great cathedrals,” “and chased along the corridors of court. Painted, chiselled, carved and drawn, still they purr silently.” Silent is right—among the nine fabulous lives hinted at, no elaborations are forthcoming. Butler provides only the barest snippets of connection, leaving readers curious and unsatisfied. Smith’s evocative artwork makes a sumptuous first impression, but carries its own set of problems, not the least of which is a blond-haired girl in Native American dress just outside a settlement of tepees in the Plains Indian style; the landscape includes desert cliffs and cacti. The use of the cat collapses history, making time an almost tangible concept, but the expressive notion hovers, disappointingly incomplete. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-87177-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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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 NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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