In this charming, comfortably old-fashioned story, set between the World Wars around a crumbling 600-year-old castle, everyone knows and agrees on the rules; a meanie's attempt to frame a conscientious servant of the king is easily seen through by the authority in charge; and army jam is put in its place. Sergeant George Harington, a one-armed war veteran appointed keeper of the castle, is an avid castle historian and diligent caretaker. Lord Badger, Harington's officer during the war, is his superior. Both hated the bad jam made by another local resident, Sir Anderson Wigg, who got rich by selling it to the wartime army. And so, when a silly pub argument between Harington and Wigg's chauffeur leads to a plot between Wigg and his chauffeur to discredit Harington, Lord Badger supports the keeper and gives the villains their comeuppance. Like a satisfying folk tale, the story ends with justice amplified: Sergeant Harington and his son Giles, named for the castle's original knight, find a 600-year-old treasure which the original Giles had sealed in a tower during a fatal battle we've already heard of. (This story, we're told in an appendix, is a similar treasure, discovered in a manuscript 50 years after its creation.) Both the matter of false blame and the conspirators' methods (from fabrications to scattering litter for incriminating evidence) are well geared to a child's perspective, and this is reinforced in Graves' earnest manner of telling. His niece Elizabeth Graves' decorous, naive drawings suit it well.

Pub Date: June 15, 1982

ISBN: 0935576339

Page Count: 70

Publisher: Michael Kesend

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1982

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.


A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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