A fine choice for newly independent and reluctant readers, featuring good-natured characters, a well-intentioned mutt, and...

ROSCO THE RASCAL IN THE LAND OF SNOW

A young German shepherd and his human family bound into snowy adventure in the second chapter book in Gorian’s (Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, 2014) series, with illustrations by Webb (Beautiful Brown, 2018, etc.).

Rosco, a 2-year-old dog, is full of exuberant, youthful energy; although he’s full grown, he’s still learning how to behave like his family wants. When they all travel into the mountains for a vacation, Rosco can’t help making mistakes: He ruins second-grader Mandy’s perfect snow angel; leaves paw prints all over her and fifth-grader James’ snowman (and steals its carrot nose); and accidentally drags Mandy down a sledding hill at a frightening speed. But when the kids stumble upon an angry mother coyote that’s trying to rescue her pup from a trap, Rosco stands between them and danger. The narrative shows the vacation from the perspectives of various characters, including Rosco himself, and offers details of potentially unfamiliar tasks, such as putting on snow tires. The Caucasian kids get along better than most fictional siblings; they’re well-behaved and hardly argue. Webb’s black-and-white images are spaced frequently enough to comfort independent readers who might be intimidated by books without any pictures. Their quality, though, is a bit uneven, and some feel unfinished, such as a hard-lined image of the coyote mother. The language is perfunctory rather than artful, but Gorian writes in a concise, simple style that budding readers will find accessible.

A fine choice for newly independent and reluctant readers, featuring good-natured characters, a well-intentioned mutt, and an outdoor rescue mission.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-06003-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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