The King and Queen are at odds: he says "too many toys" will make the Prince "soft and silly"; she says the many lessons with the King will leave him "dry and dusty." Still, they agree on one thing: "I only want what's best for him." And what is that? Dressed in medieval splendor, they take a thoroughly modern palace poll, with predictable results: the nursemaids recommend vegetables and sleep, the gardener sunshine, and so on through a list of indispensables; only the cook's daughter has the sense to suggest asking the royal toddler, who responds "Bub"— a mystery to his parents, but not to the girl, who hears "Love." The meaning is delivered rather directly, but Babbitt lightens it with wit in her slyly honed dialogue, and with a jester — a perfectly observed golden retriever sporting cap and bells — tagging along to clown appealingly in each of the pertly ironic illustrations. "Not to mention the dog," says Babbitt in dedicating the book to her human models, and she doesn't; all the same, it's a delight and steals the show, as she doubtless intended. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-205044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1994

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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 marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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