THE STONE DOLL OF SISTER BRUTE

At the end of The Little Brute Family, the Brutes change their name—and nature—to Nice; bringing 'em back bad poses problems that don't apply to most repeats. . . Sister Brute, wanting something to love, adopts a stone—she draws it a face. dresses it, and atones it Alice Brute Stone; she is adopted by an ugly dog wearing hob-nailed boots who wants someone to love him. But the doll is hard and heavy and the dog keeps kicking and Sister Brute has only tiredness and braises for her love, Mama Brute, confronted with the problem, is stymied until she looks at Alice Brute Stone's face; it is just like hers. "You could love me." she says, "and I will give you soft hugs and sing you lullabies." Each of the family, Sister Brute learns, has a special offering; she will love them all and Alice Brute Stone and the ugly kicking dog too. . . In the perfunctory introduction to the family. Mama and Papa seem typical impatient, preoccupied parents, funny-looking but not loutish enough to be funny to the child who's meeting them for the first time. On the other hand, the youngster who remembers their reform will wonder how come they're so nice before becoming Nice. It's a questionable parallel of the original with some undeniably touching images—Sister Brute fondling Alice Brute Stone; the buck-toothed yellow dog, really a rejected toy, claiming her affection because she pays attention to him; and Mama Brute seeing her own face in the stone.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 1968

ISBN: 0440406811

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1968

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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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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