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THE HAIRY ADVENTURES OF HARRY THE BEAR AND HIS DISGUSTING SIDEKICK STANKY THE DOG

From the Harry the Bear series

An amusingly silly and gross animal tale with a warm heart.

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A bear helps out a friend who has lost some fur in this picture book.

Harry the Bear is well named. Not only is he very hairy, the fur is so long and messy that he frightens his sisters, cats, and the bats outside. Harry doesn’t care; he loves his hair and his attempts to find different ways of styling it. When his best friend, Jeremy, a fellow bear, survives a house fire and winds up with patchy fur and a missing eyebrow, kids tease him about it. Despite loving his fur, Harry doesn’t hesitate to help, cutting off half and gluing it onto a jacket for his friend. Jeremy is moved by the gift—“as long as the hair didn’t come from your butt!” Told in rhyme, Hopper’s story offers an appealing blend of gross-out humor and compassion. Besides being scary, Harry’s hair is comical, as when he uses honey (appropriately) to style a rocking Mohawk. The cartoonish images by debut illustrator Leischer can be rather flat. But they do capture the book’s humor, especially in depicting the titular Stanky, who is as disgusting as advertised—eating garbage and drinking from the toilet.

An amusingly silly and gross animal tale with a warm heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-65210-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2020

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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