A Puppy for My Birthday

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
ea. vol: illus. by Carol J. Stott. 15p. (Great Big Bks.). CIP. Baker Street Bks. 1986. pap. $14.95. PreS-Gr 2These Great Big Books are a great big disappointment. Beginning readers get a bang out of the novelty of really oversize books, and theseal most a foot across and 18 inches high are a good fit for the BFG or one of his fellow giants, but even they would de mand more story, less contrived lan guage, and far better pictures than this set offers. Accompanying the meager stories are full-color paintings, done in an amateurish coloring book style, of animals that look like they were drawn by the best artist in your fifth-grade class, and of white people who are smi ley face buttons tacked on to semi-nor mal bodies. Stick with Scholastic's ``Big Book'' editions of quality titles, or the even bigger ``Dennis Lee Big Bks'' (Alligator Pie, et. al.) from Canada's Gage Educational Publishing. The youngster in A Puppy for My Birthday tries to choose from among four differ ent dogs at the pet shop and ends up asking readers, ``Which puppy should I take home with me? Tell me which one you would take.'' Hardly ``The Lady or the Tiger?,'' but the gimmick adds a change of pace, anyway. Too bad there's not enough characterization in either text or pictures to make readers care which pup is chosen. Backyard Friends features a young mouse who claims there is a growing array of wild animals in the backyard, which Mom and Dad refuse to believe until they see for themselves. Lots of stiff repetition here, although the cumulative effect of adding animals keeps it from becoming a complete bore. My First Bike also uses repetition as a way of telling its story of a young girl who keeps falling off her bike. The people in this family, with their black dot eyes and half-circle mouths, look like refugees from the Planet of the Saps. My Friend, George is a large, friendly orange monster. The monsters may appeal, although the ``scary'' ones aren't, and the ending falls flat. Strange Shapes scare James, a large white rabbit, on a nighttime walk until his mother informs him that they're only shadows. Kids will catch on right away, but will wonder where those sharply defined black shadows are coming from at nighthalf moon and stars notwithstanding. The cobweb shadow cast inside the house is some thing of a small miracle, seeing as it completely eliminates any shadows from the curtains and window cross- bars it hangs from. Summer Storms consists of a series of pros and cons on summer thunder and lightning. The in ept drawings reflect the lack of profes sional standards throughout the series. Wally, the Hiccupping Whale is a car toon blue whale who ends up swallow ing everything from ``a salty seaweed'' to ``a big boat'' every time he has to hiccup. It all floats out, eventually. Wally's story is confusing and the end ing pointless. What Do You Eat?, with its series of animal questions``Blue bird, bluebird, what do you eat? I eat the worms that live in the ground''is a clone of Bill Martin's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Holt, 1983). The pattern's not exactly the same, and there are more new words, but the germ, if not the charm and flow, is there. Kids will rightly protest that the ``red'' dog here is plain old brown, and that ``meal'' and ``field'' don't rhyme; at some level, too, they'll miss Eric Carle's elegant animals. The posed quality, lack of personality, and poor draftsmanship of the animals destroy rather than enhance any small attrac tion the text might hold.Nancy Palm er, The Little School, Bellevue, Wash.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780914867289
  • Publisher: Baker Street Productions, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/1/1986
  • Series: Baker Street Great Big Bks.
  • Pages: 16
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years

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