ALPHA AND THE DIRTY BABY

Alpha's parents' childish quarrel (``You forgot to wash my nightshirt!'' ``Wash it yourself, lazybones''... ``I've got a good mind to go off and join the navy'') is overheard by a devil's imp who takes the opportunity of turning Papa into a lump of coal and taking his place while his wife, bringing along their baby, replaces cross Mama. Alpha isn't fooled for a minute, but she bides her time, following the imps' orders to ``unmake the beds and bring the garbage in.'' Then, as soon as they go to bed (without brushing their teeth, of course), she gets to work, cleaning up for all she's worth. When the imps find her washing their baby, they're horrified. They bring back Mama and Papa and hop off, leaving the little family peaceable at last. Transforming the parents' frightening behavior into a fantasy in which the child seizes the initiative, cleverly ousting the intruders, Cole tells a lively, preposterous tale full of role reversals that are sure to delight young readers. His language is spare, energetic, and laced with humor; his pencil and watercolor art swirls with the imps' disorder (they're not evil, just rowdy), their flailing figures and raucous faces countered by Alpha's resolute serenity. A thoroughly entertaining story with a serious (but unobtrusive) theme. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 1991

ISBN: 0-374-30241-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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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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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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