PEEPER AND ZEEP

From the I Like To Read series

A sweet story that’s not without its narrative gaps.

In this picture book with an intentionally easy-to-read text, a bird and an extraterrestrial find friendship while far from home.

Peeper, a little brown bird, flutters across the page in an erratic path. Zeep, a purple space creature, soars alone in the vastness of dark blue space. Both fall to Earth, Peeper breaking his wing, Zeep breaking his spaceship. They lose themselves in the woods, then meet. Needing help to get to their respective homes, they seek out A. Frog, who resides in a green geodesic dome and appears to be an engineer or a scientist, judging by visual clues such as pencils, a drafting board, rulers, and tools. Frog’s stove is a Bunsen burner, and the window flower vases are lab flasks. Unfortunately, Frog is not immediately successful, catapults and jet-propulsion packs failing to get Peeper and Zeep where they need to go; a larger dome they work on together seems to be the solution. The ending, in which Peeper’s and Zeep’s families somehow find them and join them in the dome, is emotionally satisfying but logically less so. Gudeon’s cartoonish forms are constructed with thick outlines and flat, computer-generated pigment. Occasionally background objects and scenery appear as brush strokes of opaque paint and watercolor. Although the mostly one-syllable, four- to six-word sentences string together to form a story of trial and error, it is the visual narrative that really tells this story.

A sweet story that’s not without its narrative gaps. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3674-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

I LOVE YOU, MY LITTLE DINOSAUR

A SWEET, SELF-ESTEEM PICTURE BOOK FOR KIDS!

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.”

The cover’s glowing golden stars are but a small hint of the parent-child love inside.

In this companion book to the creators’ I Love You, My Little Unicorn (2022), a world full of digitally created dinosaurs illustrated in eye-catching colors dominates the pages. From the start, it’s clear that dinosaur parents have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring that human parents do. Readers don’t have to be dinosaur fans to smile when the parent-and-child dinosaur pairs playfully interact and share loving glances. Take special note of the ankylosauruses, whose tails arc to form a heart beneath a sky filled with heart-shaped clouds. The text in verse shares words of unconditional parental love and support and wisdom (“please remember all these things / that I want you to know”), appropriate for humans and dinos alike. “Roar with all your might!” “Spread your wings and fly.” “Use your voice, and ask for help.” There’s even a caveat that some “days will be dark / and other shades of gray.” But “there’s always brightness up ahead.” While the loving sentiments in the storytelling are clear, words are sometimes inverted to make the rhyme work, and the verse doesn’t always follow a consistent meter, but prereading will let the story shine during quiet snuggle times.

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728268361

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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