In this delightful import, two owls learn the value of friendship and how important it is to express their feelings. Hoot loves his friend Holler, just as Holler loves Hoot. But although they play together every day, they are too shy to say, “I love you.” One night, the smaller Hoot is blown away by a gust of wind. Holler thinks his best friend doesn’t want to play with a big owl like him anymore, and is too sad to call out. Both are sorry they didn’t tell the other how much they enjoyed each other’s company. They search quietly, still not ready to express themselves. Finally, Holler seeks the aid of the Wise Owl, who tells him he must be brave and call out loudly or he will never find Hoot. So Holler goes out and looks in all their favorite haunts, getting louder and louder with each stop. In a touching ending, the two are reunited and never again have trouble telling each other how they feel. Rolia’s debut as an illustrator for children is a big success. The characters dominate every scene, dwarfing the background. At the same time, they are simply drawn, with just their main traits—the owls’ feathers, beaks, and feet, the rabbits’ ears and tails, the badgers’ characteristic black and white faces—so as not to detract from the emotion in the story. Brown captures young children’s feelings perfectly, with all the doubts and joys they feel in their friendships. Many a bedtime ritual in the future will end with “I love you-hoo,” for those children who are lucky enough to hear this lesson. (Picture book 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81417-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


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

Close Quickview