A cute canine story that encourages gratitude as well as compassion toward prisoners and the disabled.

DEAR MR. ALBERT, …IT’S ME, PRINCE!

In this children’s book, a service dog for veterans finds a new home.

The Ginsburg sisters’ debut was inspired by the Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans partnership with the Martin County Correctional Institute in Florida on “a Train-the-Trainer program called B.A.R.K. (Beacon Among Rescued K9s).” The authors’ dog, Prince, was trained by a prison inmate, Mr. Albert, through this scheme. But due to his Addison’s disease, Prince couldn’t become a full-fledged service dog; instead, he lived in foster homes before being adopted. In 14 letters, Prince updates Mr. Albert on his new life with a human mom and dad, two young sisters, and his “puppy brother,” Bailey. His missives resemble those of an excited kid writing home from camp. But with the text-speak acronyms (like OMG and TBH), he also sounds like a teenage girl—“Love … it! Heehee … LOL.” The word “love” is always accompanied by a heart icon, a rather cutesy affectation. Still, it’s impossible to forget that the narrator is actually a dog: he loves chasing lizards and ends most letters with “Ta-ta for now. Lick, lick, and woof, wooof.” Prince tells Mr. Albert about a visit from the family’s Kentucky cousins, and of phoning to reassure a doggy friend who’s afraid of an impending thunderstorm. He learns to bring his mom her misplaced glasses, and sparks a panic about rabies when he catches Susie the squirrel. There are also some mild scatological incidents that are likely to amuse Captain Underpants fans: “Geez, I really need to go potty. Gotta run” and “I sometimes chase my tail trying to smell my own farts.” The didactic purpose of the book—which features adorable black-and-white images by debut illustrator Jacobson—is clear in its focus on disabilities and volunteerism as well as its vocabulary lessons. Any potentially unfamiliar words are explained in footnotes and helpfully gathered into a glossary. But the definitions are not always straightforward: for example, “Complimentary is an expression used when explaining you liked what someone did.” The authors plan a sequel; a portion of this volume’s proceeds will go to B.A.R.K.

A cute canine story that encourages gratitude as well as compassion toward prisoners and the disabled.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997403-0-9

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Keshare, Inc.

Review Posted Online: April 20, 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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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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