THE NEW DOG

Get ready for a rollicking story-hour session; the blatant injustices suffered by a pampered young dog during his initiation into the cold, cruel world of socialization will have the picture-book set on its feet with indignation and cheering at the puppy's eventual triumph. Diminutive Tootsie, a city-dweller whose water dish sports a wedge of lime, is excited about his first trip with Danny the dog-walker, but the motley crew of canine personalities who share the leash take great joy in pushing him around. Smacked and pushed, he tries to get Danny to notice; but the boy keeps blaming Tootsie for his troubles. Tootsie takes a stand just in time to nab a robber and his loot while the others cower in safety; when a new dog joins the group the next day, Tootsie breaks the cycle of bullying. Alley's compositions take the dog's-eye view; each animal's expressions fit its broadly described characterizations; expert illustrative detail abounds in the comical paintings. The story is a terrific parallel to any new situation—e.g., the first day of school—but the pluck of this poodle stands alone as sheer entertainment. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-1812-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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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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