An excellent addition to any young nature lover’s library.


This posthumously published picture book offers readers a rhyming romp through the woods.

Debut author Frank’s work is organized into two long-form poems. In the first, “Clarence and Porky,” Clarence, a bear, loves honey, and Porky, a porcupine, loves salt. The bear finds his favorite treat on a high shelf in an abandoned cabin. He’s big but not quite tall enough to reach the honey. He later happens upon Porky, with whom he shares his troubled tale. It turns out that Porky had found the cabin earlier and saw a box of salt sitting on the same shelf, beside the honey jar. Together, the friends decide that Porky will climb onto Clarence’s shoulders so that they can both achieve their comestible goals. Turning to another part of the forest, “Reynold and Gerald” tells of two foxes who astutely outsmart a pack of dogs without breaking a sweat. The two best friends are inseparable and look nearly identical. As one clever fox naps in their hollow-log home, the other leads the rapidly tiring pack around the field; then the foxes switch while keeping their pursuers ignorant of the fact that they’re chasing more than one target. They perform this ruse over and over until they finally win the day. This book seems made to be read aloud, as it’s written in well-timed, descriptive verse: “The atmosphere is hushed and dark, / A jungle made of leaves and bark.” Reynold’s and Gerald’s names both evoke the fabled Reynard the fox—a clever tidbit that lovers of folktales will undoubtedly appreciate. The pleasant poems are punctuated with gentle, earth-toned, uncredited illustrations of the animals and their surroundings, lovingly rendered in a careful stylistic balance between realism and cartoonish fun. Overall, the book shows a clear respect for nature, nodding to humanity’s relationship with the outdoors in a preface poem.

An excellent addition to any young nature lover’s library.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-2459-2

Page Count: 60

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2019

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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. 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...


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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