Mr. Manders and Edward James, a pair of bears who are father and son, have always wanted to be in a marching band. When they hear one coming down the lane, they run up to the attic and don a couple of splendid band uniforms that are conveniently stored there. Grabbing a bass drum and a toy trumpet they hurry off to join the band. Their difficulties in catching up to the band are punctuated by Edward James's pleas for his father to help him align the buttons and buttonholes on his small uniform so that they will be (as is required by a marching band) ``exactly right.'' Mr. Manders is too excited to pay any attention, but when the pair doze off under a tree during a rainstorm, mice get Edward James straightened out; later, Mr. Manders and Edward James triumphantly lead the parade. Cartwright brings resplendence to the page, trotting out bright red uniforms trimmed in gold braid; preschoolers will easily spot the source of Edward James's dismay. Isherwood's very forced, prolonged plot has an arbitrary feel, and while the child's preoccupation with his buttons is realistic, the father's single-minded pursuit, at his son's expense, appears unreasonable, and very nearly mean. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-09-176753-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Hutchinson/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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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 sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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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