Funny and charming.

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ABUKACHA'S SHOES

No matter how hard Abukacha tries to discard his old, worn-out shoes, they always find their way back to him.

Abukacha has “the biggest shoes in the whole wide world,” making them instantly recognizable to everyone. When he has a new pair made, he throws the old ones in the trash. The garbage collector sees them, assumes a mistake has been made, and helpfully returns them. Throwing the shoes in the sea or down a deep well proves equally futile, as the shoes are returned each time. When he sends them aloft in a hot air balloon, it seems as if he might finally succeed. But lo and behold, they float back, and he recognizes that they really belong right there with him. The action-packed tale is told in breezy, accessible language. Employing mixed-media and collage in a palette of mostly earth tones, Tessler establishes the atmosphere of an old folk tale with tractors, trucks, and other modern elements added. All the characters appear in the form of cut photographs arranged with large heads placed on bodies in appropriate positions and stances. In an author’s note Tessler explains that this tale was told for generations in her family and the photos honor family members lost in the Holocaust. Young readers will smile and enjoy and keep the memories alive.

Funny and charming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55498-458-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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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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