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ROCK & ROLL WOODS

A tale that offers a kindred spirit for readers who struggle with change.

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When noisy new neighbors move into a bear’s quiet neighborhood, it takes him time to adjust in this debut picture book from author Howard and illustrator Wolf.

Kuda, a brown bear, loves the soft noises that fill his neighborhood, including a whooshing stream and the chirps of local birds. But during his walk, a new sound seems to attack him: “BOOM whappa whappa.” When Kuda asks Rabbit where the noise is coming from, Rabbit explains that they have new neighbors. Kuda’s surprised that Rabbit, Owl, and Squirrel all like the racket, and he soon goes home and buries himself in blankets and ear muffs. When he finds an invitation to a “ROCK & ROLL celebration,” however, he decides he’s had enough of being alone. He sees friends dancing and playing music, and he slowly lets himself feel the rhythm, too. Soon, the new fox neighbor invites him to jam with them. Howard’s clever, onomatopoeic text is full of sound words that young readers will love, and her sensitivity in portraying Kuda’s difficulty in trying something new will resonate. An author’s note at the end describes sensory-integration issues and autism with clarity and compassion. Wolf’s adorable, stylized cartoon animals and the rainbow-colored stream of the music make the woods feel welcoming.

A tale that offers a kindred spirit for readers who struggle with change.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-946101-68-6

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Clear Fork Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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