ATLANTIC

Descriptions of the water and overviews of natural processes combine to make this a unique presentation of the story of the Atlantic Ocean. Readers learn that the Atlantic is not only the mist, salty smell, and sound of the waves, but also the icebergs up north, and the sand that the water constantly wears away and carries somewhere else. Stretching from pole to pole and washing four continents, the Atlantic has been “crossed and probed, charted, studied, dirtied.” It’s also been fished, painted, and written of by poets. Throughout the free-verse text, the author introduces the vocabulary of the ocean—ebb and flood, bay, inlet, continent, charted, oyster beds, longlines, while he skims over various natural processes, such as the ebb and flood of the tides, erosion, and the water cycle. Sparse punctuation sometimes makes the text difficult to follow, but Karas’s (7 x 9 = Trouble, p. 341, etc.) word choices more than make up for this flaw—the “rattle and clatter” of the pebbles in the waves, “heaving, raging,” and “slosh” of the water. Gouache, acrylic, and colored-pencil drawings full of oceany blues and greens complement the text and illustrate the concepts presented. Karas ends with a fact page, “Some Things About Me,” which details the age, size, currents, and growth of the Atlantic. With its broad presentation, this would make an excellent beginning to an elementary-school unit on oceans. A lovely departure for the artist whose work usually makes readers laugh out loud. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23632-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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