Fascinatingly anachronistic and a tad long-winded, this book is an eccentric curiosity that will have both kids and adults...

MR ROUSE BUILDS HIS HOUSE

Originally published by Polish poet and avant-garde filmmaker Themerson in 1938 and illustrated with charming line drawings by his wife Franciszka, this miniature hardback book in six chapters tells the story of Mr. Rouse’s unusual house-building challenges.

The little man has to explain with difficulty to the architect that not any old house will do: “I’m not a bird, you know; how could I live in a house made of leaves?” Neither a pagoda nor a skyscraper meets his needs, nor a block of flats, where “The houses are choking!” Finally Mr. Builder gets it. He rings up Mr. Rouse on the telephone to tell him the plans are done, and he will start building right away. After a challenging journey across country via bus, horse-drawn cab, train and plane, Mr. Rouse finally is able to inspect his new abode. He loves the house, but basic services are missing, and he has to work hard to get running water and electricity hooked up and a clock installed. In a style reminiscent of poems by Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, typography is used humorously to illustrate Rouse’s eccentric antics.

Fascinatingly anachronistic and a tad long-winded, this book is an eccentric curiosity that will have both kids and adults puzzling over its arcane Briticisms and enjoying its Python-esque wackiness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84976-154-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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