BECAUSE YOU'RE LUCKY

Jonathan's family must learn to adjust when orphaned cousin Kevin comes to live with them. At first Jonathan feels put out and jealoushe must share his clothes and room with Kevin; at school, the other students take to Kevin's friendliness instantly. When Jonathan asks, ``How come I have to share my clothes? How come he gets to sleep in my bunk bed?'' his mother answers, ``Because you're lucky. You have a home, a family, so many things and so much love.'' After the boys fight, Kevin moves into the guest room (which wasn't mentioned as an option before) and they find they miss each other, eventually becoming inseparable. The story is well-intentioned, and Smalls's heart is in the right placebut the entire venture is stiff with lessons. Jonathan's mother offers textbook reassurances, but her perspective often overwhelms her son's. A teenage sister, Dawn, disappears after two pages, right after she and Jonathan have expressed, openly and without real parental comment, their dislike of Kevin. Hays's illustrations are colorful but static, adding to the atmosphere of bibliotherapy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-316-79867-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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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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