A FAR-FETCHED STORY

Grandmother knows a long, hard winter is coming and she wants one more armful of firewood. One at a time, she sends the family—son, daughter, mother, father, and baby—out, but they each come back without any wood and their clothing shredded, unraveled, or clawed. Each one claims to have been attached by a creature: “I barely escaped with my life!” To which Grandmother retorts, “That’s a far-fetched story,” and tosses the ragged item into the empty wood box. A rush of cold air prompts her to start a fire with the rags, but the cloth colors and the softness of the fabrics are so comforting that instead she reaches for needles and scissors, creating the solution for the cold winter: a “far-fetched” story quilt. Like a real quilt, this book is layered, with a satisfying story on top, good padding of pacing, rhythm, and humor in the middle, and a backing that ties the whole together, which is the actual stitching of wonderfully creative fabric and thread illustrations. A note from Carpenter (Fannie in the Kitchen, p. 410, etc.) explains that she transferred drawings and ironed them onto white linen and used colored thread to define and add details. An original tale just waiting to be told, the coloration and patterns in paisleys and plaids piece together this cozy and fetching story, one that is a delightful fabrication. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-15938-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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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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