LITTLE DEVILS by Robert J. Blake


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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This trio of Tasmanian devils is quite the handful. Burnie, Winnie and Big Stanley are active pups, gnawing and bashing at everything in sight. Though the babes run wild, their mother supports their youthful energy. Each sibling ventures into the wild when Mum goes missing; teeth bared, the tough tykes scare an older devil and then free their mum from a trap. Repetitive phrases accelerate the tension to a natural crescendo, and well-chosen words develop the pups’ characters. More direct than nuanced, the matter-of-fact tone provides immediate resolution: “They were a happy family once again.” The vivid Australian surroundings are authentically represented with regional vocabulary (gnarly, footy ball). Colors blend to convey the dynamic landscape, and controlled brushstrokes enhance texture. Rendered in oils, the pups’ faces convey their tenacious energy; their developed expressions feature both playful exuberance and formidable power. While illustrations vary in focus, the Tasmanian devils’ hopeful eyes provide emotional depth. An author’s note describes their threatened conditions, providing a starting point to understanding this unique species. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24322-6
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2009


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