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Fluffy and fun, as expected.

A lonely little cloud named Ploof needs your help.

This interactive picture book directly addresses children, encouraging participation with Ploof. When Ploof is feeling shy, readers are told to clap for encouragement. Similarly, when the cloud “runs…out of steam,” readers are asked to “blow softly on Ploof” to “puff Ploof back up.” The illustrations are simple and clear. For the most part, the recto of each spread includes text set against a white background, while the verso depicts the cloud against a soft, sky-blue background—an effect that focuses readers’ attention on Ploof. This little white cotton ball of a cloud has an expressive face and large, oval-shaped eyes, used to great effect to convey Ploof’s shyness, weariness, and worry. The seek-and-find pages might be the most fun; readers must spot Ploof, who’s hiding among a field of sheep and in a sky full of kites. Interactive books like this are popular for a reason, and this one fits the mold rather than breaking it. Adults and caregivers looking for a sweet, reader-facing read-aloud will be satisfied with this one; those seeking something nonformulaic need to look elsewhere. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fluffy and fun, as expected. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781774881927

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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