BECAUSE YOU'RE LUCKY

Jonathan's family must learn to adjust when orphaned cousin Kevin comes to live with them. At first Jonathan feels put out and jealoushe must share his clothes and room with Kevin; at school, the other students take to Kevin's friendliness instantly. When Jonathan asks, ``How come I have to share my clothes? How come he gets to sleep in my bunk bed?'' his mother answers, ``Because you're lucky. You have a home, a family, so many things and so much love.'' After the boys fight, Kevin moves into the guest room (which wasn't mentioned as an option before) and they find they miss each other, eventually becoming inseparable. The story is well-intentioned, and Smalls's heart is in the right placebut the entire venture is stiff with lessons. Jonathan's mother offers textbook reassurances, but her perspective often overwhelms her son's. A teenage sister, Dawn, disappears after two pages, right after she and Jonathan have expressed, openly and without real parental comment, their dislike of Kevin. Hays's illustrations are colorful but static, adding to the atmosphere of bibliotherapy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-316-79867-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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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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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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