OUCH!

A fine, comfortable storyteller’s voice meets up with sly and elegant illustrations in this tale from the Brothers Grimm. A baby boy who is “nobody special” is born with a crown-shaped birthmark, so the local fortune-teller predicts he will marry a princess. The king, father of a newborn daughter, bribes the parents to surrender their son, on the pretext that he will raise the boy. Instead, he puts him in a box and drops the box in a river. The baby is rescued and named Marco, and grows up tall and sweet and confident. Re-discovered by the king, he is saved by mischievous bandits, marries the princess, then is sent off by his new father-in-law mid-celebration to get three golden hairs off the devil’s head. Now the story gets interesting, as Marco rides off to Hell, meets the devil’s grandmother, and brings back the three hairs—the “ouch!” of the title—while also doing away with the king and relieving a bored ferryman of his duties. The illustrations are rich in Renaissance pattern in architecture and clothing, chivied by Marcellino’s round-headed, puckish figures. Street, forest, and water vistas share the rosy golden light of fairy tale; the whole is quite satisfying. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-205066-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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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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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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