MADAM PRESIDENT

A deadpan text outlines a president’s extensive duties, while Madam—a ponytailed girl in a snappy pin-striped pantsuit—trips through an exhausting day, bestowing small American flags as she goes. Smith’s illustrations combine cartoonish figures, mod interiors and stylized landscapes a-swirl with fall leaves. A whimsical double-page spread proclaiming “A president must choose a capable cabinet” pairs toys with their official titles: Mr. Potato Head is Secretary of Agriculture, for instance, and a winged unicorn is “Secretary of Fantasy.” Such retro elements as a deck of Old Maid cards and a Ruth Buzzi button will tickle adults, as might a Duck Soup–derived reference to “[t]he ambassador of Freedonia.” Children can squint at the spines of Madam Prez’s library (which leans to American history) and spot scores of visuals signaling her obsession (presidential busts, a pet cat doubling as a Secret Service agent). Though the Oval Office here is no more than a messy bedroom, this funny romp lightly delivers a hefty message for today’s girls: The White House is yours for the taking. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 29, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0846-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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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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