A lighthearted ode to books featuring eye-catching, funny pictures of an eccentric character.

Krazy Kathleen

A children’s librarian who keeps everything in seemingly random piles teaches local residents a lesson in this tale by Tellem (Zen the Zebra, 2015, etc.), featuring illustrations by Coules.

The story opens introducing Kathleen Konkey of the Small Town Free Library, a “chilled-out librarian” who can balance books on her head. Her library looks similar to that balanced stack: piles and piles of books on the floor, on tables, and on statues—anywhere but on the shelves. Although the narrator suggests that the library looks like a dump, it doesn’t look dingy or dirty, just chaotic, and Kathleen’s love of books shines through. When a patron asks her for a Harry Potter tome, Kathleen cites the location (by pile and number from the bottom) without even looking up from a copy of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. She encourages comfortable posture in her teenage readers, rather than worrying about the furniture. Her memory for book location extends to titles for toddlers, and a cameo of another of Tellem’s picture books, When You Gotta Go (2013), will make the author’s fans giggle. Soon, Kathleen is confronted by her assistant, whose complaints are met with calm explanations; meanwhile, Kathleen reads and rereads her favorite books. Eventually, even the Small Town mayor gets involved, and Kathleen admits that the reason she’s so poor at organizing (outside her own brain) is that she’s too busy reading. A satisfying concluding image shows the mayor joining Kathleen atop the stacks with his nose in a good book. The delightful illustrations, which are full of book covers, are the real draw here, and they capture the kooky tone perfectly. The story is clever, and the vocabulary (with words such as “indignation” and “unruffled”) will provide fun challenges for strong independent readers. However, the message that a library job is all reading and no work underappreciates the very hard work that librarians do in order to help their patrons. Most young readers will grasp the tongue-in-cheek depiction here—but some may start making plans for a future career in reading all day.

A lighthearted ode to books featuring eye-catching, funny pictures of an eccentric character.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9853602-3-8

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Swordpen Publishers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2016

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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 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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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