Candlewick Press (MA), Paperback, 9780763661205, 40pp.
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
A faithful little dog must survive on his own in the wild in this evocative tale of loss and reunion from acclaimed poet Marilyn Nelson and the inimitable Timothy Basil Ering.
Abba Jacob is a monk who lives on a far, far away island with his loyal rat terrier, Snook. Every day, from the wee hours of dawn till the sun sets over the sea, Snook keeps Abba Jacob company as he prays or works, tending the gardens or fixing the plumbing of the little hermitage he calls home. But when the two are separated by a ferocious storm, Snook must learn to fend for himself in the wild, all alone in a world of fierceness and wonder. Will he ever again hear the loving voice that he waits for? Simply and lyrically told by award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson and beautifully illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering with wit, warmth, and affection for the natural world, this captivating tale of friendship lost and found conveys the power of faith against all odds.
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Medal-winning THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo and FINN THROWS A FIT! by David Elliott. He is also the author-illustrator of THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE and NECKS OUT FOR ADVENTURE! He lives in Massachusetts.
Nelson's moving portrait of Snook and his triumphant reuinion should win a wide and enthusiastic audience.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Breathtaking multimedia paintings offset by expressive line drawings amplify the power of the image-rich, heartfelt free-verse text. Ever eschewing manipulation, it nevertheless could wring tears from stone.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Acrylic and ink art depicts heavy- and light-hearted moments equally well, and while Snook and the ever-present ocean are painted realistically, Ering's cartoony representation of Abba Jacob lightens the load, balancing the story's darker moments.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Haunting and perceptive. . . . Nelson writes in delicate stanzas of effortless poetry. . . . Ering's acrylic-and-ink fades from the bright palette of the monk's abode to a nearly two-tone earthiness, and creates a style both realistic and emotional - you can almost feel the generous swaths of paint. The final reuniting is sudden, yet as genuine as everything else about the book. There is no artifice here, no foisted plot. Just a dog, waiting to resume his happiness.
—Booklist (starred review)
Nelson's text-though prose, still poetically lyrical-depicts both island idyll and doggy reality--There's an open-air breeziness to Ering's mixed-media illustrations-- Snook is portrayed with a fair amount of informal realism, while baldheaded and spindly-limbed Abba Jacob is endearingly cartoonish, but their reunion-Snook bouncing into the air with glee, and both man and dog open-mouthed with joyous relief-visually encapsulates the inner boogie of jubilation such a meeting can bring.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
In charming acrylic and ink spot art that erupts into luscious colorful spreads, readers see these two friends go about their simple yet meaningful days...The poetry of the text evokes all the senses and pulls at the emotions. This book will capture the heart of anyone who has ever loved and been loved by a special pet.
—School Library Journal (starred review)