An impressive work that takes a mundane journey and makes it a hilarious, melodious adventure.

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Country Store

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY

A veteran children’s musician captures the epic proportions of a childhood trek to the country store in this debut sing-along picture book.

A young boy and his dog set off to the country store, a long walk from home. Soon the boy meets his friend Bob, who asks for help with his chores so that he can go along. The narrator gladly obliges. A detail-filled, two-page spread shows the chaos the boys create as they finish the farmyard tasks: a cat drinks from the milk pail; the dog chases the pigs; and the two friends ride a wheelbarrow, chasing the chickens and spilling the freshly collected eggs. But, presumably, the work gets finished, and on the next page, the boys and the dog head for the store, slowing down on the hot day, until they run into Jim, who has a bike. All three boys pile on the bike in carefree fashion, unconcerned with helmets or safety rules, picking up speed. “Everything was goin’ just fine until / We came to a great…big…hill,” the narrator says, dubiously pointing at a winding path in the illustration, while Bob urges Jim to take the long way. Jim refuses, even though it means (shown in another wordless, two-page spread) that the narrator, Bob, and the dog will have to push the bike to the top. The reward? The ride down at increasing speeds, at first joyous and then terrifying as the bike’s brakes snap, and three kids careen straight into a cow standing in the path, sailing into the air and landing—wouldn’t you know it?—at the door of the country store. There they meet two female friends (one of whom is the sole child of color in the cast). And the entertaining punch line? The narrator is the only kid with any money. In Noah’s amusing tale, the uneven rhythm of the words, sprinkled with fiddley-diddley-diddley-dees throughout, is a challenge to scan without first listening to the CD that accompanies the book. But after a reader enjoys the music, the rhythms should come naturally. And while the lyrics are clever and the refrain will likely have kids joining in, the project communicates much of the nostalgic story—and the characters’ emotions—through Noah’s glorious, wordless spreads, which should have children laughing out loud.

An impressive work that takes a mundane journey and makes it a hilarious, melodious adventure.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5173-0535-2

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Tim Noah Productions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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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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