THE OLD WOMAN WHO LOVED TO READ

Platypus and pig, koala and kangaroo are a few of the sumptuously rendered animal visitors to an old woman's small farmhouse in the countryside. She didn't always live there—she is seen leaving the city for a home where she hopes to read, relax, and commune with nature. It's a cruel dream, for she has chores inside her farmhouse and out, and the only ones looking at books in these charming pages are the curious geese, mice, and rabbits. Spring brings an unexpected and demanding lamb, summer brings shearing, autumn brings harvest, the putting up of preserves, and the rains—wood must be chopped. Winter brings the peace she sought; the old woman opens a book on her lap, only to fall into well-earned sleep. All of it—house and inhabitants—are cunningly, winsomely painted by Winch, who makes his story gently wry. The humor here is in no way the sopping happily-ever-after sort; instead, the edges of harsh realities become heartening. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-8234-1281-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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TO MARKET, TO MARKET

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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