Bound To Stay Bound

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 Vernon is on his way : small stories
 Author: Stead, Philip Christian

 Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press (2018)

 Classification: Easy
 Physical Description: 64 p., col. ill., 25 cm

 BTSB No: 844466 ISBN: 9781626726550
 Ages: 4-8 Grades: K-3

 Toads -- Fiction
 Skunks -- Fiction
 Porcupines -- Fiction
 Friendship -- Fiction

Price: $6.50

Join Vernon the toad and his friends Skunk and Porcupine on a series of three enchanting adventures entitled Waiting, Fishing, and Gardening.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: LG
   Reading Level: 2.70
   Points: .5   Quiz: 195892

   Kirkus Reviews (05/15/18)
   School Library Journal (+) (05/01/18)
   Booklist (+) (05/15/18)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 PreS-Gr 1—Vernon, the bighearted little toad from A Home for Bird, is back in this series of very short tales. As in most of Stead's work, this is a quiet book in which seemingly mundane activities—like waiting, going fishing, or missing a friend—offer young readers a mirror for their big emotions and deep thoughts. Divided into three brief chapters, the book features Vernon and his pals Skunk and Porcupine, as well as a few new friends. In "Waiting," Vernon sits longingly on a shell. What he's waiting for is not clear, but when the shell turns out to be a snail, the toad is "on his way." In "Fishing," Porcupine is anxious because he's never fished before; he doesn't want to ruin his friends' good time. In the end, all turns out well—and, in a laugh-out-loud surprise, "fishing" entails shouting an enthusiastic "HELLO!" at a passing fish. In "Gardening," Vernon is despondent. He hasn't seen his friend Bird in a long time, and sometimes "memories are not so easy to remember." Though Bird does not appear, Porcupine and Skunk work hard to cheer up their pal. Stead's world is filled with characters whose empathy, kindness, and calm resolve make them easy to love. Though the drama is subdued, the interior life of his creatures is rich, and the humor, though subtle, delights. The mixed-media art, with childlike crayon textures and colorful pastel smudges, depicts the characters with soulful expressions and charming vulnerability. VERDICT This heartwarming collection is perfect for one-on-one reading. Share with fans of Laura Vaccaro Seeger's "Bear and Dog" and Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" books.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 05/15/2018 *Starred Review* This companion to A Home for Bird (2012) includes three short stories featuring Vernon, a gentle toad and forager of retrieved items. In “Waiting,” Vernon patiently anticipates Snail, who gives him a ride. “Fishing” sees Vernon, Skunk, and Porcupine contemplate angling, even though Porcupine has many unvoiced concerns about this pastime. And, in “Gardening,” Vernon visits the river and the forest and watches clouds in an attempt to feel closer to his friend Bird. Stead’s mixed-media artwork, in gouache, crayon, charcoal, and chalk, uses simple forms, executed in thick, messy strokes such as a child might make while coloring. Greens and earth tones predominate, accented in red (mostly for found objects such as an apple or a fishing bobber). Expressive faces convey the stories’ range of emotions, including worry, curiosity, loneliness, and joy. As in the earlier book, Vernon shines as a sensitive yet always upbeat hero. In the final vignette, he faithfully goes about tending his garden, even as he struggles with missing Bird. Later, Skunk and Porcupine follow Vernon’s example, adding their own special touches to the garden to help their friend smile again. Those able to slow their pace sufficiently to experience the compassionate Vernon and his kindhearted friends will be amply rewarded. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.

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