HICKORY, DICKORY, DOCK

Despite a pretitle vignette of a landscape draped in droopy clocks, the surreal nonsense here is more dada than Dali. In verses modeled on the nursery rhyme (``Margery, bargery, bow,/The monkey stubbed his toe./The clock struck three,/He spilled the tea...''), the hours advance to midnight (``Hickory, dickory, date''); meanwhile, in a room crowded with ornate objects (clocks are everywhere, their faces adorning wallpaper and glimmering atop hats), several animals (an elegant cat, a debonair masked mouse, a cow falling out of a picture that falls from the wall) engage in slapstick that's tenuously related to preparing for a celebration. The illustrations are rendered with artistry and precision, and children may enjoy trying to decode the goings on and checking out the synchronized clocks. But nonsense requires its own logic; ultimately, this effort is simply too incoherent to work. There are too many miscellaneous details, the verse isn't especially clever, and the absurdities are neither funny enough nor intriguing enough to be worth puzzling over. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-590-47278-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1994

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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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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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