An elegant tale, perfect for golfers and nongolfers alike.

THE PRESIDENT'S CADDY

A GOLF STORY

In Rosa’s (Birdie, 2012, etc.) novel, Sam Parma, an observant, self-conscious teenager, learns about life, love, human nature and himself as he caddies for an ex-president at a local golf tournament.

This thoroughly enjoyable, deceptively simple story, ostensibly penned by Sam with the help of his language arts teacher, opens with him awaiting a ride home from the aforementioned match, mooning over what he calls “The Big Goof.”Sam narrates the tale in a kind of teenage-noir style: “Futile—that‘s the word I was looking for....I could’ve used others like useless, pointless, or wasted. Any of those would’ve done just fine. But I decided on futile.” During the round, he engagingly compares the actions of different people in his party; the unnamed ex-president has a friendly but standoffish manner, which contrasts starkly to baseball star Ernie Banks’, who exudes an affable generosity, signing autographs for all who ask. Sam also notes how other caddies’ actions differ from his own. Major, a friendly veteran caddy who coaches Sam, takes notes on the course and checks wind direction by tossing grass in the air; Chip Swanson, a popular, self-important up-and-comer in the golf world, instructs his player in what sounds to Sam like a foreign language: “This one’s a real slider…Play it about three balls to the high side. It falls off past the hole, so careful with the pace. Let it die over the lip.” In the crowd, a girl named Theresa Bellissima seems to be flirting with him, and later provides Sam with a hard-knocks lesson in love. Throughout, Sam entertainingly daydreams, establishing details about his relationships with his family and the world at large. As the story unfolds in flashback,Rosa deftly builds suspense over what the mistake might have been, while also building a relatable character through solid storytelling.

An elegant tale, perfect for golfers and nongolfers alike.

Pub Date: July 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9828225-0-0

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Jackpot Press

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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