A nifty way to encourage imaginative play and storytelling.

THE BIGGEST STORY

When Errol’s mother is too busy to tell him a story, she convinces him that he can make up and tell one himself.

After a few jumping jacks and a headstand in the garden, Errol’s big story begins. Word quickly spreads about his project, and soon Errol, with brown skin and cottony black hair like his mom’s, finds himself surrounded by talking ants and cats, sheep who perform aerial stunts, animals escaped from a wildlife park, and even two time-traveling dinosaurs—all eager to be included as characters in his story. After she finishes her work with the plumbing, Errol’s mom comes to the garden to listen to the story he’s been working on, which includes all of the animals in the backyard—but she doesn’t seem to be able to see them. While Errol is telling the story, the illustrations move from full-page, fairly soft-focus bleeds to sequentially paneled cartoons with dialogue balloons and sound effects like those found in comic books. (Readers in the U.S. will note that a cat character in Errol’s story wields what it calls a “catapult”—the British term for a slingshot, which may require a bit of explanation from adults.) After the story ends, prompts are provided to encourage readers to make up their own stories.

A nifty way to encourage imaginative play and storytelling. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68464-045-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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