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 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 quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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