SEEING EYE WILLIE

Another flawed attempt to deal with children's concerns about the homeless. Like Karen Barbour in Mr. Bow Tie (1991), Gottlieb uses flamboyant color and arrestingly bold design in illustrations that also exhibit an appealing tenderness. The child here is more aware of possibilities (``Maybe he has no money. Maybe he doesn't want any money. Maybe he'd like my money. Maybe he has lots of money''), and nothing really changes—which is far more realistic than Barbour's saccharine conclusion. It's the middle that's weak here: wondering what Willie's story is, the narrator imagines him journeying around the world as a baby, losing an eye when a friendly lion scratches him by mistake, being given his embroidered slippers by a Chinese monkey, his coat by a seal (?!), and so on. This imaginary story is childlike, but it doesn't advance understanding of Willie's plight, and the implicit conclusion—that speculation is fruitless and could be unkind—is disturbingly at odds with the elaborate fantasy, which takes up more than half the book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-82449-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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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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