A parable of creativity fails to deliver enough story to hang its message on. Milli is clever: she “could take a thing that was a nothing . . . and make it . . . a something!” But she timidly hides all her tinkering with these somethings and makes her stolid living as a shoemaker—until Jack and the Dancing Cat, two wandering minstrels, come to town. They teach her to dance in exchange for new boots, and this unleashes Milli’s creativity to the point that when Jack and the Dancing Cat move on, Milli has transformed her yard into a Seussian spectacle of whimsical art. King’s delicate ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of color and movement, the renderings of Milli’s art wonderfully twirly and loopy (in both senses of the word). But for all its sweetness, the story really doesn’t go much further than the basic celebration of creativity and exhortation to bravery. There’s a raft of picture books on the theme out there; with such examples as Peter H. Reynold’s The Dot (2003) available, this stands as an additional purchase. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24240-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


A marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet