While reaching out to save a friend in trouble—even a bully—is an act of heroism, kids, don’t try this at home!

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TEBOW TAILS

A bully learns a valuable lesson about how to treat his friends in this anthropomorphized dog tale of adventure on the water from debut author Sullivan.

Tebow the fawn boxer is eager to meet up with his other dog friends on Dog Bone Island, where the group always gathers for “Sunday Funday.” He takes his Jet Ski to the island’s marina, which is run by Oscar the owl, a bird who, in the illustrations, appears to be as large as Tebow. Oscar’s assistant is Parker the pelican, whose inner thoughts reveal personality traits of the other characters, despite Parker’s inability to remember any of their names. When the pups are all finally gathered, Tebow realizes that Caspar, his golden retriever friend, has been especially shy. The reason is soon clear: Hunter, a red golden retriever, is playing too roughly, knocking Caspar to the ground in a friendly game of Frisbee and holding him down in the sand until Caspar begs to be released. Hunter nips at the heels of two of their racing friends and parades around as though he’s top dog. Concerned, Tebow confronts Caspar about the problem. Caspar acknowledges that Hunter is bothering him but says, “Maybe Hunter just needs a hug.” Not long after, Hunter needs more than a hug: ignoring posted warnings, he goes for a swim and gets caught in a riptide. Tebow races for his Jet Ski to rescue him, but Caspar doesn’t want to risk waiting for the vehicle. He swims to Hunter to assist him until their rescuers arrive. Parents will appreciate the book’s message about caring for friends even when they’re not on their best behavior. But the small type and chunky blocks of text may be daunting for young readers. The canine cast, rendered in colorful, cartoonish illustrations by Prato (The Sensational Letter “S”, 2016, etc.), walk upright, which makes them seem stiff and less doglike. Additionally, Caspar’s heroism glosses the danger of riptides.

While reaching out to save a friend in trouble—even a bully—is an act of heroism, kids, don’t try this at home!

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4834-5800-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2017

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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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