Youngsters may want to learn more about Norse lore after reading this pleasant tale.

THE THREE VIKINGS

A diminutive green Viking who makes music instead of war is the eventual hero of this small saga.

Three Vikings, an orange man with a beard (the “strongest”), a blue woman with purplish hair (the “bravest”), and a small green Viking boy, all wearing the requisite helmets with horns, want to enter Valhalla, “the magical place where the strongest and bravest Vikings go.” During their ensuing adventures, the smallest Viking works hard to show the others that he has what it takes to enter Odin’s magical hall, but he usually comes up short. First the trio confronts “an ornery troll,” then a kraken, and then a dragon. With each monster, the littlest Viking tries to use music to save the day, but the strongest and the bravest Vikings must step in. When they finally reach their goal, however, the smallest Viking finds his niche: There are no musicians among the multicolored inhabitants of Valhalla. Just as in Leo Lionni’s Frederick, the warriors “had been waiting for just the right Viking to come along and fill their days with music and stories.” Bold, humorous cartoon illustrations, created with pen and ink, watercolor, and digital color, will hold the interest of group listeners. The message that the arts are as important as fighting is a positive one.

Youngsters may want to learn more about Norse lore after reading this pleasant tale. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-601-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Weathers heavy themes with breezy sensitivity…and unicorns!

WEATHER TOGETHER

From the Not Quite Narwhal and Friends series

Emotional storm clouds come between two unicorn friends.

Harking back to Not Quite Narwhal (2017) in both cast and tone, Sima offers a friendship tale in which Kelp’s close and aptly named pal Nimbus acquires a dark little cloud that rains when she feels down. The more she tries to ignore it or bottle it up, the bigger it gets…until it finally breaks out in a storm that sends her fleeing all company to huddle alone in a gloomy forest. There, she discovers that recognizing and getting to know the cloud actually makes it shrink—and just as she’s feeling a bit better, Kelp gallops into view, which sets the stage for a joyful reunion depicted in the sweet, softly hued illustrations with an exuberant rainbow swirl. Kelp, who turns out to be “a very good listener,” acknowledges the cloud matter-of-factly, and Nimbus comes to understand that though she may have up days and down days to come, weathering the latter with an accepting friend will make them easier. If some young readers subject to or familiar with similar storms (or a bit foggy on what a metaphor is) need explanation or discussion about depression to clear the air, the comforting message nonetheless shines brightly. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Weathers heavy themes with breezy sensitivity…and unicorns! (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781665916981

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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