A charming talking-animal tale, with gentle messages about family and the environment.


Two Chihuahuas engage the animals of Bald Head Island, N.C., in a plan to stop illegal turtle-egg traffickers in this playful debut children’s adventure book aimed at dog lovers and budding environmental advocates.

Pampered, curious pups Bennett and Lola join their owner Cora as she retreats to a beach house to write a book about the animals and plants on Bald Head Island. Soon a charismatic mockingbird Moc urges the dogs to see the wonders of the neighborhood: a mean dog named Jug (short for Jugular), intriguing but dangerous alligators, and a big loggerhead turtle mama who lays her eggs on the beach. When the eggs are stolen, the pups take on alternate identities—Chief Inspector Brown and Sergeant Starfoot—and collect a team of animals to follow the egg poachers and alert the local Bald Head Island Conservancy people. Later, the pups must find their way back to Cora after being washed into the ocean and stranded on a beach far from home. The story has no human children as characters—a bit odd for a book targeted to kids—but Bennett’s protective big-sibling relationship with the excitable, recklessly brave Lola shows how sibling rivalry can be superseded by love when it matters most. The story, set in a real location and supported by accurate Conservancy information, can act as an environmental teaching resource, but it also delivers a typical kids’ mystery. The book’s strategically placed advanced vocabulary, understandable in context, makes it a great choice for beginning readers. Its adorable but not cutesy tone and the wittily distinctive voices of its animal characters make it a good candidate for dog-loving parents and children to read together. Energetic illustrations support the story well, though they are forced into quarter-pages, and might have been better served by full-page display.

A charming talking-animal tale, with gentle messages about family and the environment.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477406175

Page Count: 128

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2013

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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...


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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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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