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Little Devils
     

Little Devils

by Robert J. Blake
 
Robert J. Blake shines a light on a little-known animal.

Burnie, Winnie and Big Stanley are three Tasmanian devil pups growing up in the wild. Along with their mother, they make one happy family.

Since the pups are still so small, Mum does all the hunting. But one night, Mum doesn?t come home and the pups are getting hungry . . . and worried. They need food,

Overview

Robert J. Blake shines a light on a little-known animal.

Burnie, Winnie and Big Stanley are three Tasmanian devil pups growing up in the wild. Along with their mother, they make one happy family.

Since the pups are still so small, Mum does all the hunting. But one night, Mum doesn?t come home and the pups are getting hungry . . . and worried. They need food, but more importantly, they need Mum. Big Stanley is the first to leave the den. Then Burnie. And finally Winnie. Together they set out with one goal in mind: find Mum.

What follows is a heart-warming tale of adventure, love and family, told to readers by the incomparable Robert J. Blake with lifelike illustrations that will touch readers and bring them closer to this unique animal.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Blake's brush renders the Tasmanian terrain and its inhabitants in realistic, sweeping scenes.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Three young Tasmanian devils, Burnie, Winnie, and Big Stanley, are old enough to play outside and wait while their mother forages for them. But one day, when she has not returned, they venture out to look for her. Big Stanley enjoys what he finds in a fisherman's cabin, but hides when discovered. Running along the beach, Burnie is hit by a big wave and also seeks a hiding place. Winnie also runs from an encounter with an old Tasmanian devil. They find each other and scream to frighten away intruders. When they hear their mother calling, they find her in a trap, with the old devil growling beside her. Together, their screams drive him away. Working together, because "that's what Tasmanian devils are supposed to do," they manage to get her out of the trap. They are then a happy family together again. Blake's double page naturalistic oil paintings emphasize with warmth the emotions of the three appealing youngsters. The scenes offer a fine picture of the Tasmanian landscape as we follow them in their search for their mum. Frequent close-up portraits effectively stimulate our reactions to their open-mouthed screams as well as their family affection. Perhaps there is a bit too much anthropomorphism, but this remains an effective introduction to the animals and their habitat. A note adds factual information along with a map. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Blake means his title literally—this winsome story focuses on three young Tasmanian devils who enjoy mischief, and well, screaming. Burnie, Winnie, and Big Stanley wait each day for their mum to return to the den with food or toys for them to tear apart. But when she doesn't return one night, they set out to find adventures of their own. Eventually they find their mother trapped in a cage, and they do what young Tasmanian devils do best: rip it apart. And the family is back together once again. Blake loads his light-filled paintings with natural details and realistic expressions. By focusing on universal themes of family and youngsters tasting independence, he makes the story heartwarming and accessible without anthropomorphizing the animals. This book would make a lovely supplement to units on Australia or wildlife around the world.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
This trio of Tasmanian devils is quite the handful. Burnie, Winnie and Big Stanley are active pups, gnawing and bashing at everything in sight. Though the babes run wild, their mother supports their youthful energy. Each sibling ventures into the wild when Mum goes missing; teeth bared, the tough tykes scare an older devil and then free their mum from a trap. Repetitive phrases accelerate the tension to a natural crescendo, and well-chosen words develop the pups' characters. More direct than nuanced, the matter-of-fact tone provides immediate resolution: "They were a happy family once again." The vivid Australian surroundings are authentically represented with regional vocabulary (gnarly, footy ball). Colors blend to convey the dynamic landscape, and controlled brushstrokes enhance texture. Rendered in oils, the pups' faces convey their tenacious energy; their developed expressions feature both playful exuberance and formidable power. While illustrations vary in focus, the Tasmanian devils' hopeful eyes provide emotional depth. An author's note describes their threatened conditions, providing a starting point to understanding this unique species. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399243226
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/17/2009
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

Robert J. Blake was born and raised in New Jersey. As a boy he made "tons of drawings" and used up thousands of crayons. He says, "I even did a huge crayon mural on our hallway that was not artistically appreciated by my parents."

Sharing one large room with two older brothers was "total chaos," he recalls. "We had lots of animals - dogs, ducks, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, and even two flying squirrels. And, oh yes, a tarantula. I think my parents were afraid to come up to our room."

Mr. Blake now resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He works in his studio, a renovated barn on his property. Mr. Blake says, "I would like to paint in every state in the United States and in every country in the world."

"I hope my books lend the reader a feeling, and emotion, a new point of view, a new way to look at something that they might not have experienced otherwise."

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