MARTA AND THE BICYCLE

Anyone who thinks cows are dumb and slow has never met Marta. A trendsetter who thinks for herself, she likes the quiet kind of transportation, but she likes testing her limits, too. So while her bovine friends dream of becoming train engineers, Marta sets out to build herself a bicycle. Determined, Marta finds parts in a junkyard, but when she’s done, she’s going to race her custom-made bike, and quicker than you can say Lance Armstrong, she does. Before that, however, she must learn to ride in a strikingly droll couple of pages (just think: cow on bike) that are a lesson for children learning to ride themselves. Indeed, newcomer Zullo doesn’t forget his young audience while recounting all the simple fun and then providing a twist ending. A visit to Switzerland would bring, among other souvenirs, images of mountains, cows, and brightly clad bike riders. Equally, the French Swiss author—along with illustrator Albertine, who is from Geneva—turns the legendary fondness of his countrymen for cows and bicycle riding into a cartoon-bright, happy can-do character and a story with a subtle sprinkling of a French lesson for good measure. Marta’s indomitable spirit plunging forth into new experiences is hard to resist. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-929132-35-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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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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