COUNTRY KID, CITY KID

Cummins (Tomboy of the Air, 2001, etc.) gives us her take on the comparison of country life to city life in this typical, but cheerful, rendering. Readers follow the lives of Ben, who lives on a farm, and Jody, who lives in an apartment building, as a side-by-side description of each child’s daily routine unfolds. When Ben wakes up he hears the sounds of birds and cows. When Jody wakes up she hears horns and sirens. Ben gets his mail at a mailbox down the road. Jody gets hers in the lobby of her apartment building—and so on. The author’s simple language has an instructional feel and so do Rand’s (Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove, p. 345, etc.) skillfully detailed and literal watercolors. This combination comes off as a bit monotonous, but very accessible. What gives the narrative a nice twist is how Ben and Jody’s lives intersect towards the end. Every summer Ben goes away to Camp Eagle Ridge. Then readers find out that Jody “is excited about her first time at Camp Eagle Ridge.” The two meet at the camp, become friends, and afterwards Ben sends Jody a map of constellations he can see from his bedroom window. She sends him a city street map and marks her favorite places. Country life and city life seem as similar as they are different, but young readers might side with country life. Ben gets to cut down his own Christmas tree in the forest instead of buying it on the street like Jody. Ben also goes to Camp Eagle Ridge every year. What’s more, he has a dog. There’s something here for both kinds of kids to think about. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6467-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2002

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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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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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