PRINCESS FISHTAIL

Familiar folktale elements are given a modern twist by the creators of Cinder-Elly (1994) and Sleepless Beauty (1996) in this original tale of a mermaid captivated by a handsome surfer. Told in slangy, rhyming vernacular, the storyline is traditional in its basic elements: when a human man falls into the sea attempting to get a glimpse of a beautiful mermaid, she helps him to shore, falls in love with him, agrees to trade her tail for legs, then wishes to be able to return to her family under the sea. But this Mer-Princess is more resourceful than the greedy troll with whom she’s made the trade anticipates; when the troll demands her voice in return for giving her back her tail, she takes swimming lessons at the Y and learns how to scuba-dive in order to visit her family. The colorful, splashy illustrations are outlined in scratchy, thin black lines, and the spreads are full of humorous asides and details in addition to the text: clams, jellyfish, seabirds, and even some aliens contribute remarks as they seem to watch the story unfold from the sides of the pages. This fish tale with well-known antecedents is refreshingly contemporary in its tone and look. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-670-03529-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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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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