THE LONELY LIONESS AND THE OSTRICH CHICKS

A lonely lioness and a resolute mother ostrich take center stage among a cast of African animal characters in this model Aardema retelling of a Masai folktale. As in Who's in Rabbit's House? (1977), Aardema (Jackal's Flying Lesson, 1995, etc.) bases the tale on a version from her 1969 Tales for the Third Ear (o.p.). Her simplified, uncluttered tale with a modified ending contains many ingredients of good storytelling: villain and trickster, threat of danger, the seemingly weak outwitting the strong, and animals with human foibles. When a lioness, who would be happy with even one cub, sees four ostrich chicks, she impulsively steals them and calls them her own. Mother Ostrich solicits help from a gazelle, a hyena, a jackal, but it's the clever mongoose who outsmarts the lioness. Aardema uses repetition and pacing along with sounds based on African ideophones to tell this tale of a mother's unwavering determination to protect and rescue her vulnerable children from the lioness's misplaced longings. Setting the tale apart are Heo's subtle, distinctive paintings with African motifs in a fresh and unexpected primitive folk style. Unique compositions and perspectives, combined with a subdued palette that uses all the greens, golds, and ochres of the grasslands, challenge existing geometric notions of African art. (Picture book/folklore. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-86934-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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