HARP O’GOLD

AN ORIGINAL TALE

Bateman reminds readers of the proverbial phrases, "Be careful what you wish for" and "Money can't buy happiness." Tom, a musician, spreads joy throughout the emerald land on his timeworn harp, but longs to become a wealthy minstrel. While in the woods contemplating his fate, he wonders out loud if perhaps his shabby old harp is the source of his problem, and wishes for a new one. Lo and behold, a small man dressed in green appears with a gold harp. Astonished at his good fortune, Tom quickly makes the trade and seals the deal. When his vintage instrument disappears with the mysterious little man, Tom feels a bit of a pull on his heartstrings, but is blinded by the glitter and deaf to the tinny sound of the new one. All the right doors open to the minstrel with the golden harp, but alas, Tom is not as happy as he thought he would be, since people are in awe of the harp instead of the music. Tom's ultimate dream comes true when he moves into the palace to perform exclusively for the king, but he soon realizes that although he lives like a prince, he has lost his freedom and is a palace prisoner. Naturally, all turns out right in the end, with Tom having learned his lesson, thanks to a more benevolent than usual leprechaun. Bateman's (Leprechaun Gold, 1998, etc.) chatty message is made more charming by Weber's (Angel Spreads Her Wings, 1999, etc.) winsome figures and clever details, lots of green, of course, and music-appreciating animals. A welcome addition to the slender group of St. Patrick's Day picture books. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1523-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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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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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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