ALPHA AND THE DIRTY BABY

Alpha's parents' childish quarrel (``You forgot to wash my nightshirt!'' ``Wash it yourself, lazybones''... ``I've got a good mind to go off and join the navy'') is overheard by a devil's imp who takes the opportunity of turning Papa into a lump of coal and taking his place while his wife, bringing along their baby, replaces cross Mama. Alpha isn't fooled for a minute, but she bides her time, following the imps' orders to ``unmake the beds and bring the garbage in.'' Then, as soon as they go to bed (without brushing their teeth, of course), she gets to work, cleaning up for all she's worth. When the imps find her washing their baby, they're horrified. They bring back Mama and Papa and hop off, leaving the little family peaceable at last. Transforming the parents' frightening behavior into a fantasy in which the child seizes the initiative, cleverly ousting the intruders, Cole tells a lively, preposterous tale full of role reversals that are sure to delight young readers. His language is spare, energetic, and laced with humor; his pencil and watercolor art swirls with the imps' disorder (they're not evil, just rowdy), their flailing figures and raucous faces countered by Alpha's resolute serenity. A thoroughly entertaining story with a serious (but unobtrusive) theme. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 1991

ISBN: 0-374-30241-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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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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