A sweet animal tale effectively conveys a basic but important message.

SQUEAKY AND THE STINKY MOUSE

A debut picture book, the first installment of a series, features an adventurous mouse.

In Cash’s morality tale, Squeaky is a skilled scavenger who refuses to share his bounty with a stinky fellow mouse who comes begging at his door. That evening, when Squeaky forages, food is scarce, but he is drawn to his favorite smell—cheese. Most readers will likely anticipate what Squeaky does not: the tantalizing tidbit is the bait for a trap. In deference to young readers, activating the device produces a net, not a neck-breaking snap! Squeaky is rescued by the stinky mouse, whom he feels obligated to invite to his home for a meal. First the guest—his name is now revealed to be Whiskers—bathes and amazingly loses his stench. When asked, Whiskers reveals that his mother taught him to help when he could, because someday he might need aid, too. The illustrations by Smith—the author’s English teacher brother—are as uncomplicated and straightforward as the text, with the drab mouse world enlivened by the bright colors of the kitchen of the “People.” Each drawing, uniformly centered at the top of the page with text beneath, sports a bright blue border. Rather than boring, the homogeny and simplicity of the text and art should be comforting to the target audience (ages 4 to 7). While the story’s point is of the “do unto others” variety, a worthy anti-discriminatory theme also emerges.

A sweet animal tale effectively conveys a basic but important message.

Pub Date: July 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63183-070-9

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Mountain Arbor Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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