SPRING’S SPRUNG

The spring season gets a treatment of its own, following autumn (Wild Child, 1999) and winter (Winter Waits, 2001) from the same author/illustrator team. As before, the verse and illustrations personify the seasonal players. In this case, Mother Earth wakes her daughters, the spring sisters of March, April, and May, saying, “You must wake the world / to start a new day.” At the end, they must wake one more: summer. But before they awaken anyone, the three girls bicker and vie for first place in Mother Earth’s affections. After she affirms “I love you ALL the best,” the daughters are ready to wake the earth and “Spring’s Sprung! / A new day’s begun.” The insouciant mixing of months, seasons, and days may not bother preschoolers, but adults may notice. Nonetheless, the tone is lighthearted and fresh, appropriate to its season. Illustrations, as in the previous books, are liquid acrylic and colored pencil on museum board. Mother Earth’s form emerges from the earth’s topography while the daughters are portrayed as free-standing girls with many visual allusions to their physical ties to the earth, such as hair that flows into a river or curls into mounds of bushes. The colors are pastel, and there is much that is a fresh, new green. Touches of flowers and familiar mother-and-baby animals (such as bunnies and ducks) dot the backgrounds. There is a distinct New Age flavor to both story and illustrations. The large, vertical format is equally suitable for storytime or individual readings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84229-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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