DUSTY LOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

Lowell and Cecil (Little Red Cowboy Hat, 1997) return to cowboy twists on nursery tales when they take Goldilocks and plunk her down in Montana in this spry retelling of a classic. Hewing to the original fairly closely, Lowell adds a few licks of her own: there’s Dusty Locks, a rapscallion who hasn’t taken a bath for a month of Sundays, and the bears are a family of grizzlies. Dusty raids the bears’ digs after they go for a walk while their beans are cooling. She scarfs the cub’s beans (the others are so spicy or too bland), busts the cub’s stool (by mistake), and takes to the cub’s bed when Papa Bear’s pile of prickly branches and Mama’s featherbed don’t suit her. When she awakens to the three bears staring down at her, she hightails it home and submits to a good washing. She’d never be recognized with her new sweet scent. Lowell trots out a good bunch of expressions—“cross as two sticks” and “no more manners than a pig in a peach orchard”—and the tale sparks with pert humor: When the bears find Dusty Locks sleeping in the cub’s bed, Mama Bear notes, “Smells mighty whiffy in here!” And though the story’s momentum is somewhat on the clunky side, the comedy keeps the wheels turning, as do Cecil’s pictures of goofy bears in cowboy boots and kerchiefs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-5862-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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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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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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