Books by Karma Wilson

BEAR CAN'T SLEEP by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 23, 2018

"A smart, stealth bedtime tale. (Picture book. 3-5)"
A brown bear tries his best to slumber through winter. Read full book review >
A DOG NAMED DOUG by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 26, 2018

"The combination of a perky, naughty dog and lots of dirt and mud will appeal to kids who like a story of an adventurous pooch. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A large, golden-brown dog named Doug spends all his time and energy digging huge holes and extensive tunnels, with some surprising results. Read full book review >
BIG BEAR, SMALL MOUSE by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 29, 2016

"Fluent and friendly, this frolic will encourage preschoolers and emergent readers to recite and chant along with each reread. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Forest-animal friends launch a string of contrasting terms to illustrate opposites just as a storm brings everyone together in Bear's cozy lair. Read full book review >
DUDDLE PUCK by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Encouragement for all who waddle to the beat of a different drummer. (Picture book. 6-8)"
A newly arrived duck who would rather oink, neigh, and even belt out "HIP-HIP HOORAY!" than quack has all the farmyard's residents aflutter. Read full book review >
BEAR COUNTS by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 12, 2015

"Bear's fans may get practice counting the number of times they ask for this again. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Having tackled one concept in Bear Sees Colors (2014), Bear and his charming woodland friends now address the numbers from one through five. Read full book review >
BEAR SEES COLORS by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 23, 2014

"Light on story but full of delightful details and lots of color practice, this is sure to garner many new fans for Bear and his group of friends. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Wilson and Chapman's Bear is back, this time for younger listeners who are learning colors. Read full book review >
OUTSIDE THE BOX by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 11, 2014

"At once affirming, silly, and poignant: a stunning visual and poetic compendium on growing up. (Poetry. 8-11)"
A charming, gorgeously illustrated children's collection of light verse. Read full book review >
WHO GOES THERE? by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 22, 2013

"The start of a beautiful friendship. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-8)"
There's something scary out there, disturbing Lewis Mouse in his cozy home. Read full book review >
BEAR SAYS THANKS by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"A tender tale of friendship, timed for Thanksgiving. (Picture book. 3-7)"
In a new companion to Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More (2002, 2003), a lovable bevy of friends come together again for feast and fun. Read full book review >
HORSEPLAY! by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 5, 2012

"A solid and gleeful dose of ridiculousness. (Picture book. 3-6)"
It's not called horseplay for nothing. Read full book review >
BEAR'S LOOSE TOOTH by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 30, 2011

"Though it is light on specific information about how and why teeth are lost, most children will enjoy relating to Bear in his latest oh-so-cozy adventure. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Wilson and Chapman continue this popular series that began with Bear Snores On (2002). Read full book review >
HOGWASH! by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: June 7, 2011

"Certain partners to Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin's Duck, these hogs (and their mud-loving message) are sure to delight. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Farmer takes spring cleaning to the extreme in this barnyard romp. Read full book review >
IF I WERE A MOUSE by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2011

A little boy narrates this rhyming story as he imagines what it would be like to be different animals. He imagines himself as a mouse, owl, squirrel, bird and cat, with the cat leading the narrative back to the boy in his bedroom, getting ready for bed. The concluding lines, the only religious content in the book, refer to God as "father, creator and friend," thanking him for making the child who he is. The verse—just mundane rhymes about the way the animals move or where they live—has an old-fashioned, sing-song quality and isn't particularly interesting or creative. Soft-focus illustrations show traditional scenes of homes and a farm; there's some added interest for sharp-eyed young readers with a repeating device of a knitted scarf on each animal and blue-striped shirts on the boy and several animals. (The rusty-red squirrel in a striped shirt with 17 seeds hidden in his cheeks seems ready to run right off the page and find a more exciting story to star in.) The final illustration in the little boy's room includes toys, a lamp and curtains echoing the other characters and their homes. The religious content in the last spread seems tacked on to fit this story into a particular slot rather than any meaningful effort to connect children with God. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)Read full book review >
MAMA, WHY? by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: March 22, 2011

A lullaby featuring a polar bear mother and cub joins the legions of other tales of young ones asking their mothers the familiar—why? "When the moon sails high in the Artic sky, / Polar cub asks, ‘Mama, why?' / Mama answers, ‘Moon floats up there / to say good night to polar bears. / He glides above to shine sweet dreams / and sends them down on silver beams.'" Mama adds, "When the moon sends dreams of princes and queens, / he turns wondrous stories into dreams." While the sleepy polar cub continues to ask "why" in response to each of his mother's lyrical explanations, the mixed-media illustrations imbue a dreamy quality to the spare text. Amid the misty aura, the bears are almost photographically realistic, especially their fur texture. Mendez sprinkles stars liberally about his spreads, their luster adding to the silvery sheen of the moon against the dark Arctic night, as if channeling Thomas Kinkade. As Mama's explanations grow ever more fanciful, he incorporates fanciful imagery from the standard (pirate ships, royal coaches) to refreshingly original (bears and a trio of seals put together in the night sky). The overall effect is soothing, affectionate, precious and cozy—practically guaranteed to lull little ones to sleep. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
THE COW LOVES COOKIES by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: July 6, 2010

While most of the farmer's animals enjoy their critter foods (chickens chomp chicken feed, geese gobble corn, horsey nibbles hay), cow inexplicably loves cookies. Well-executed, bouncing rhyme will have children bobbing their heads as the farmer makes his feeding rounds and cow sneaks sugary treats. Hall's sure-handed strokes of graphite carve out friendly, watercolor animals and farm vistas. Something wonderfully retro spreads across these pages of perky-eyed creatures. Their eyebrows pop from their foreheads with classic, expressive "U" shapes; fields of dirty greens, mustardy tans and khaki browns conjure up the comforting palette of mid-20th-century picture books. The farmer's red gingham shirt and navy overalls recall the traditional, bright colors of the same era, while a perfect blue sky hovers above. Children might miss these subtle allusions, but they will still bask in the book's warmth. Text settles comfortably both within the artwork and the bordering white space, seamlessly integrating sounds and story with illustration. This self-assured, simple and successful picture book closes with a goofy, age-old punchline that will get giggles every time. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
BABY, I LOVE YOU by Karma Wilson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Dec. 22, 2009

"Love my baby's / little hands, / love those / little fingers, too. // Love my baby, / little one. / Oh, my baby, / I love you!" To the rhythmic verse Wilson has perfected, a multiethnic cast of unabashedly adorable babies express their own love to a sweet beagle puppy in a green-and-white striped shirt. Williams's soft, smudgy pencil gently provides the outlines, which are filled in with pastel-hued watercolors. Text boxes are set against pastel, patterned backgrounds and feature vignettes of the puppy and various baby-related impedimenta (stroller, socks, blankie). The babies approach Helen Oxenbury-like perfection, lacking only the occasional wicked glint in the eye. Still, only Cruella de Vil couldn't love this book; everyone else will dissolve into baby-loving protoplasm. (Ages 6 mos.-2)Read full book review >
WHAT’S THE WEATHER INSIDE?  by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2009

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, / don't be a dope. / Cut off your hair / and make your own rope." These witty words are representative of the poems assembled in this clever, if not exceptional, collection. While the majority of the entries skew toward silly, some are more reflective. "The Simple Things," for instance, begins: "If you've ever hiked for miles on end / on a trail that twists and climbs and bends / and you finally stop to take a rest— / well, that's when simple things are best." Blitt's cartoon illustrations, done in pen, ink and watercolor, often extend the poems in creative ways. For instance, the cartoon accompanying "Please Peel My Peach"—which reads: "Fuzzy fruit I think is best / when fruit is more / and fuzz is less"—depicts a determined boy with a razor held to a lathered-up peach. Not an essential purchase, but the short, often-funny poems may draw in those who don't typically seek out poetry. (Poetry. 6-10)Read full book review >
BEAUTIFUL BABIES by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 27, 2009

"In the spring when things turn green, / many babies can be seen. / Fuzzy bunnies, / sleepy sheep... / ...little chicks that like to peep." With a verbal and visual aesthetic that's skewed to the aggressively cute, this gooey offering presents a parade of predictably sweet babies (no baby gators or dragonfly nymphs here), each with a touch-and-feel patch to encourage tactile encounters. There's little in the text to guide babies toward a description of what they're feeling, which requires readers either to break the rhythms to explain just exactly what the chicks' beaks are supposed to feel like (which is…?) or to ignore the touch-and-feel component in order to keep the textual flow. Either way, it's a miss. (6-18 mos.)Read full book review >
PLAY NICE, CALICO! by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 16, 2008

Wilson's playful kitten struggles with sharing and boasting in this well-meaning but ultimately unsuccessful tale that will please grown-ups more than it teaches toddlers. Heavy reliance on dialogue lifts the situations depicted beyond the comprehension of the toddlers it's aimed at, despite the bright and child-friendly illustrations. One of the burgeoning Calico series.Read full book review >
MORTIMER’S FIRST GARDEN by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 24, 2008

Mortimer the mouse is just about to chomp down on his sunflower seed when he hears "the big people" who share his house talking about gardening. While he laughs at the notion of "throw[ing] perfectly good food in the dirt," he's intrigued at the notion of a "miracle" that will yield many, many more seeds, so he gives it a try. By day three, he's getting impatient, but "a gentle, quiet voice" tells him to "Wait." Recognizing the voice as God—with a theological certainty that comes like a narrative bolt out of the blue—Mortimer waits and reaps predictable dividends. Andreasen provides certifiably cute visual accompaniment to the tale, including the dubious implication that a friendly (vegetarian?) spider will help Mortimer eat his newfound seed wealth. Demands too many leaps of faith. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
BEAR FEELS SICK by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 11, 2007

This gentle rhyming tale about being sick and taking care of friends is sure to cheer up even the sniffliest of small patients. It's a beautiful autumn day, but Bear is feeling sick and cannot play with his friends. Instead of leaving him to recuperate alone, they tenderly try to make him feel better. Hare snuggles a blanket around him and mouse gives him a hug, while badger gets some water so that gopher can cook some broth and mole can put a cool cloth on his forehead. When this does not cure him, the birds fly off to get some leaves for tea, but Bear "still feels sick." Lullabies finally coax him off to sleep, and when he awakens, all their efforts have paid off. Unfortunately, now his friends are feeling sick, and bear unflinchingly takes up the mantle of caregiver. Chapman's acrylic illustrations are as delightful as ever, depicting an adorable cast of forest animals in warm earth tones. The friends' love for one another is more than evident from their facial expressions and tender actions. This is a sure soother for anyone home sick in bed. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Exuberant watercolor illustrations in glowing, autumnal hues are the most striking feature of this Christian interpretation of the Thanksgiving holiday. In her double-page spread illustrations, Bates creates a winning personality for the narrator of the story, an unnamed little boy with a big smile. He greets his arriving relatives, plays outside in the leaves with his cousins and enjoys a traditional turkey dinner with pumpkin pie. The boy is followed everywhere by his friendly golden retriever, whose coloring blends in with the fall palette, and Bates adds comical touches such as a close-up view of the child during the dinner with black olives stuck on each finger. Though the illustrations are appealing, the rhyming text is not as strong, with several verses struggling in their rhythm or rhyme scheme. The religious aspect of the text includes a prayer before dinner and a repeated refrain, based on a phrase from a Psalm, expressing thanks to God. Adults who prefer a Christian focus for a Thanksgiving story will find this volume useful. (Picture book/religion. 2-5)Read full book review >
WHOPPER CAKE by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 10, 2007

Written in verse, Wilson's original, folksy tall tale is given an industrial-strength boost from Hillenbrand's big, exuberant artwork. It's Grandma's birthday, and Grandpa (who looks remarkably like Eric Carle) wants to bake a cake. Not just any cake—a whopper cake. When a table-sized bowl proves too small for the enormous amounts of sugar and flour, Grandpa transfers the mixture to the bed of his pick-up truck, stirs in more ingredients with an oar, and then drives to town with his trusted canine assistants. In one visual slip, the ice cream Grandpa gets for the top of the cake—now the size of a small house—is missing from the pictures. Opening with birthday balloons and splattered chocolate batter, Hillenbrand combines candy-colored egg tempura paintings with sepia-toned line drawings in jaunty double-page spreads. Judiciously sprinkled with patterns, the compositions are full but never busy. The language of the recipe for a junior-sized version of the dessert is a bit corny, but after engaging with the tale's good-humored action, kids will be watering at the mouth. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
HOW TO BAKE AN AMERICAN PIE by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2007

How do you bake an American pie? Just follow this grandiose recipe and you'll have a taste of the first American pie made on the Fourth of July. Starting with a preheated world that's "hot with a hunger and thirst to be free" and a "giant melting pot," you spread out the "crust of fruited plains" and fold in amber fields of grain, add some "purple mountain majesties" and "leaven with dawn's early light." Ladle in some liberty and sprinkle with freedom. Wilson takes her ingredients from American history and song to concoct a patriot pie that fairly bubbles and steams with noble ideals and geographical splendors. Colón's ink-and-watercolor illustrations cleverly incorporate tons of iconographic Americana, surreal kitchen images and feline and canine master chefs who measure, fold, roll, pour, whisk, spice and bake this gargantuan culinary masterpiece with breathtaking skill. From page to shining page, this should be a tasty treat for young patriots. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
SLEEPYHEAD by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

A cat tries to get his teddy bear, Sleepyhead, to go to sleep in this rather mediocre effort. Cat and Sleepyhead follow the typical bedtime script: adult trying to stick to the routine; young child making all sorts of requests in order to delay. "We've kissed our kiss, your quilt is spread. Go to sleep. It's time for bed. One more kiss, says Sleepyhead." Subtle rhyme, a repetitive refrain and a gentle progression toward cuddles will help youngsters follow Sleepyhead to dreamland if they can ignore the disappointing illustrations (seemingly random changes in font size) and the text layout (normal on one page, wavy on the next). Segal's watercolor characters are lacking in facial expression and are tiny, swallowed by background details on the pages. Sleepyhead cleverly moves through a dream world suggested by the pictures on his quilt, but the youngest readers may not notice this subtle play. Bedtime deserves so much more than this. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ANIMAL STRIKE AT THE ZOO. IT’S TRUE! by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2006

Sunny scenes featuring dot-eyed, shiny-surfaced zoo animals give this otherwise ill-conceived outing visual polish, at least. In a plot that will warm the cockles of anti-unionist hearts, the animals declare a strike—" ‘We're paid only peanuts!' the elephants shout. / ‘And goodness, we're bigger than that.' / So now they won't trumpet or lumber about. / They sit in the shade, looking fat." A weeping child shames them into going back to work, whereupon they realize that "they actually like what they do." Intentionally or not, an even clearer message emerges as the zookeeper, supposedly "doing the best that he can," offers the elephants pecans and a shorter work day, but those ungrateful monkeys complain that the water in their small new kiddy pool is cold, and the zebras stubbornly reject the proffered oats, demanding the right to choose their own feed. Young readers will not only stumble over the text's markedly irregular metrics, they are also likely to wonder how animals on strike are different from those on the job, as standing or sitting idly about is what real zoo residents usually do anyway. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
MOOSE TRACKS! by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2006

Overlaid with hoofprints, but also filled floor to ceiling with clutter and bric-a-brac, Davis's full-bleed domestic scenes furnish a backdrop to an unseen narrator's mystified rhyme, as an array of wildlife looks on: "There are wood chips in my guest bed, / but a beaver spent the night. / He got hungry, and the bedpost / looked so good, he took a bite. / Wood chips, I remember. / But who left all these moose tracks?" Young readers will be on tenterhooks to find out—but neither writer nor illustrator provides a clue to the culprit. Until the final scene, that is, when the complainer finally puts in an appearance, sporting both antlers and an air of injured innocence—"Why, look at me—I AM a moose / and I don't make a mess!" Yeah, right. Neat freaks and most parents will be eager to share this breezy outing with the slobs in their lives. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
DINOS IN THE SNOW by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

What happens when dinosaurs decide to spend the day in the snow? Engaging in all the wintertime favorites, they build snowmen, ski, snowboard, ice skate, sled, toboggan and engage in snowball fights. Younger listeners will enjoy the rhyming verse: "Stegosaurus skates superbly. / Watch her glide with grace. / The crowd lets out a mighty cheer. / She's sure to win first place!" While still amusing, dinosaur body type and winter activity rarely correlate. The dinosaurs themselves range from the well known and easily identifiable (even in their winter gear) T. rex and Triceratops to the little known Barapasaurus, Dilophosaurus, Supersauras and Geranaosaurus. These last few might send young readers to the library to learn more. Rader's illustrations are filled with cute cartoon dinosaurs having fun and running amok—their manners are not the best. Dinosaur fans will sit through one reading, but that might be it. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
MORTIMER’S CHRISTMAS MANGER by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Little Mortimer Mouse craves a mouse-sized house of his own because his mouse hole is not a pleasant place—"Too cold. Too cramped. Too creepy." At Christmastime, Mortimer finds a house that is just the right size: a Nativity set with a little hay-filled bed that's a perfect fit. He moves the baby and the other statues out of the house each night so he can curl up in the manger until he overhears the Nativity story read out loud on Christmas Eve. Mortimer then realizes the meaning of the statues and the baby Jesus figure and offers a prayer to Jesus to send him a home of his own. Mortimer's prayer is answered in short order when he finds a gingerbread house set out for Christmas Eve. Mortimer is an appealing little creature in Chapman's illustrations, showing his determination to find a cozy bed, but the volume's greater appeal for families and schools will be as a simple but satisfying story that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas rather than on Santa or presents. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
SAKES ALIVE! by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2005

Giving new meaning to "cattle drive," bovines Molly and Mabel lift the farmer's keys one day and take the pickup for a joy ride. Barreling down country lanes—"They bounced along the bumpy road / at quite a frightful speed. / ‘What's that sign say?' Mabel asked. / But cows of course can't read"—toward seeming disaster, the duo roars into town trailing a line of howling police cars, zooms through the Mayor's garden, then screeches to a halt right outside the jail—where cheering onlookers declare it the best parade they've ever seen. Firehammer's sweet illustrations, all rounded edges and still forms in pale, harmonious colors, capture the humor, if not the frenetic energy, of Wilson's headlong verse odyssey nicely. Readers are bound to hope that these two cousins to the bovine troublemakers introduced by Doreen Cronin in Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type (2000) haven't finished sowing their wild oats. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
MAMA ALWAYS COMES HOME by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2005

A rather ho-hum production on a familiar theme. Wilson chooses to rhyme her reassuring but pedestrian message, first in a series of animal portraits and then closing with a child whose mom leaves the moppet in dad's charge. The animals are slightly anthropomorphized: Mama bird wears a flowered kerchief and there's a quilt on the nest; mama cat sports a polka-dot headscarf, although the polar bears and dolphins do not. Dyer's colors are as bright and clear as early summer, but the refrain, "Mama always comes home," gets tiresome. "Mamas everywhere! They leave their little ones, but then . . . / They hurry right back home again." Yes, we get it, but couldn't you say it a bit more prettily? (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
BEAR STAYS UP FOR CHRISTMAS by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

In this third story about Bear and his friends, Bear struggles to stay awake during the group's holiday preparations. On Christmas Eve, all the other animals fall asleep, but Bear stays up all night making presents for the others. He's so busy with his work that he misses the appearance of Santa, who pauses at the cave door to fill all their stockings. On Christmas morning, the smaller animals enjoy their own gifts and then surprise Bear with a comfy quilt for his long-awaited winter slumber. The rollicking rhyming text is punctuated with the regular refrain of "but the bear stays up," which will surely be chanted gleefully by children listening to this story. The illustrations do a fine job with animal expressions and with difficult situations such as a mole popping corn and a Raven stirring up some fruitcake. The oversized format includes many double-page spreads with the bumbling, big-hearted bear in action and then finally settling down for a long winter's nap, after which Bear had better be back. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
DINOS ON THE GO! by Karma Wilson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Dinosaurs driving racecars, dinosaurs riding bicycles—even a whole Tyrannosaurus Rex family tucked into the sleeper car of a passenger train. Where could all of these dinosaurs be going? To the dinosaur reunion, a 40-million-year reunion to be exact. The sometimes rhyming text offers an amusing look at how dinosaurs might actually live among humans, but it's the art that brings this tale to life. Advertisements for Herb Ivore and Sons Expert Gardening service, Stegoland, and drinks offered in convenient ten-gallon cartons are some of the sight gags for the right eye. While the catchy (though often clumsy) writing and clever illustrations offer an amusing take on a familiar subject, the story ultimately goes flat, leaving it merely another dinosaur book. Drive on by unless desperate for another dinosaur fix. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
NEVER, EVER SHOUT IN A ZOO by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2004

Oddly misguided work from a usually reliable illustrator sinks this cautionary monologue, written in animated rhymed prose, about the perils of startling wild animals. "Never, EVER shout in a zoo . . . because if you do . . . anything might happen. And don't say I didn't warn you," Wilson starts out—but the small wail a child emits after dropping her ice cream cone excites disproportionately wild flight from a grizzly bear and a moose, both of whom are described, but not depicted, as having bad attitudes. Then gorillas join in by hopping over the conveniently low wall that is their only restraint, freeing all the other animals, and locking up the zoo's four human visitors in a cage that proceeds as if by magic to melt away to set the stage for a contrived final joke. Young viewers might enjoy seeing zoo animals running about and laughing in triumph, but the art and text are too insecurely connected to make any sort of whole. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
HILDA MUST BE DANCING by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2004

Hilda the hippo joins the corps of cows, pigs, chickens, and other terpsichorean livestock currently capering across picture-book pages. As in her deservedly popular Bear Snores On (2002), Wilson's verse swings fetchingly: "And while she danced in utter bliss, / it sounded quite a lot like this: / KA-BUMP! KA-BUMP! CRASH! CRASH! SMASH!" Watts depicts a wide-bodied, Martha-like (as in George and, not Graham) blue hippo, arrayed in leotards, Carmen Miranda wear, disco pants, and more, stylishly lumbering across leafy landscapes as various African creatures look on in dismay. Having, at the request of these last, sampled and rejected less seismic avocations ("Hilda tried to sit and knit. / She didn't like it, not one bit") she, along with her relieved audience, finds the perfect venue at last—in water ballet. Move over Olivia, Clorinda, Angelina, Red, and all you others. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
A FROG IN THE BOG by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

A simple counting rhyme relates the tale of a frog who eats his way through the bog: one tick, two fleas, three flies, and so on. Eventually, he gets so fat that the "log" upon which he sits takes notice and reveals itself to be a hungry alligator. The frog's panicked scream allows the contents of his tummy to escape, and out they come, from five snails, to four slugs, back down to the one tiny tick. The appropriately folksy text is nicely complemented by pale, splashy watercolors that evoke the swampy setting perfectly. Frog, fleas, flies, and the other "meals" learn a gentle lesson—the smallest ones stay away from the frog, who therefore stays small enough himself that the gator won't pay him any attention. Since the counting only goes up and down to five and everyone is safe at the end, this is especially suitable for the youngest beginning counters. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
BEAR WANTS MORE by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

Bear's ravenous appetite is the focus of this rollicking follow-up to Wilson's Bear Snores On (2001). Upon awakening from his winter siesta, Bear is beset by a voracious hunger. Although his woodland friends attempt to assuage the bruin's cravings, Mouse's offering of berries, Hare's clover, and Badger's catch of the day do little to quiet the grumbling of the behemoth's belly. While Bear is out foraging, the rest of his friends prepare a feast fit for a famished friend of epic proportions. Wilson's cheerfully irreverent tale pays homage to another hungry bear, known for his penchant for honey, in a tongue-in-cheek scene where the formerly svelte Bear can no longer fit through his den's opening to reach the tantalizing meal inside. Satiated at last by his friend's bountiful springtime picnic, the satisfied Bear soon drifts off to sleep. Wilson's use of the repetitive refrain "Bear wants more" teases readers' appetites for more—of the story—neatly building the anticipation for the tale's surprise ending. The sing-song rhythm of the rhyming couplets lends sprightliness to the ebullient tale. Chapman's acrylic paintings sparkle with the freshness of the vernal season; vibrant, varying shades of greens drench the pages in a riot of blossoming hues. Bear is rendered as appealing as ever; this lovable lump of soft brown fur is as cozy and comforting as a well-loved teddy. Fans will enjoy the fun of revisiting with this convivial pack of forest friends. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
BEAR SNORES ON by Karma Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2002

Snug in his cave, not even some visitors seeking shelter from the storm can wake Bear. Mouse arrives and builds a small fire to warm the chilly air. Hare arrives and they pop corn and brew tea, but even the slurping and burping doesn't bother Bear. Even when Badger passes out crunchy honey nuts and more guests begin arriving, "Bear snores on." By the time Gopher, Mole, Wren, and Raven arrive, it's a full-blown party. "And they nibble and they munch with a chew-chomp-crunch! But the bear snores on." Nothing seems to bother Bear, at least until an errant pepper flake from the stew tickles his nose. Sneezing awake, Bear is furious, but not because everyone is having a party in his cave, but because he has slept through it all. The other animals comfort Bear by insisting that the party is just beginning. Stories and food carry the party until dawn and as all the other animals snuggle in to sleep, only Bear is left awake unable to recapture his slumber. An icy blue palette illustrates the cold winter night, while the cave's interior is rendered in warm tones of reds and browns. The delightful illustrations on over-sized pages depicting the animals' party are the perfect accompaniment to the lyrical text. Little ones will snuggle into bed on a snowy night to hear this one. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >