A charming, humorous read-aloud tale that concludes on a tender note.

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FUSSY WILLIKERS

THE BABY SOCK THIEF

A vexing question—where did all the baby socks go?—finds a surprising, heartwarming answer in this debut rhyming picture book.

In the promising opening lines, readers learn that “deep inside the wall behind the washing machine, / lives the most mischievous creature you have ever seen.” As illustrated by Lu (The Blind Man’s Dog, 2018, etc.), the small creature, called Fussy Willikers, is elfin and furry, with clever little hands. According to a poster, Fussy’s goals are to “TAKE ALL SOCKS,” “BATHE IN SOCKS,” and “BE HAPPY.” Today, he has a special objective: take one sock from each colored pair. All day, the white mother and baby wonder why socks are disappearing. But rather than bathing in his loot, Fussy sews a blanket from the stolen socks, snuggling it around the infant. Ryan McLemore and Ashley McLemore offer a heart-melting explanation for lost socks, presented in rhyming couplets with the repetition that children love. The tale delivers a perfect balance of mischief, mystery (what is Fussy up to?), and sweetness, ending with the lines “And in the end, Fussy did not mind the chore, / because while he loves socks, he loves baby much more.” The softly colored illustrations enhance the story with whimsy and well-chosen details.

A charming, humorous read-aloud tale that concludes on a tender note.

Pub Date: July 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-13842-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nolan Mac Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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