THE HIKE

Three children hike up a mountain together, enjoying the process in different ways.

Wren, a brown child with an afro puff and glasses, brings a sketchbook and a flag. El, an Asian-presenting child, brings a poetry notebook. Hattie, the smallest, with tan skin and a mop of reddish-brown hair, brings feathers and holds Bean the dog’s leash. Hiking is their “favorite thing to do”—and no wonder. They start out running “like maniacs” through the forest until they reach “a ripe patch of thimbleberries,” which they eat until they’re full. El teaches the others to make little leaf baskets. They get lost and Hattie uses maps to find their way. They draw wildlife, spot deer tracks, and, in a magic moment, actually see a deer before it startles and disappears. The children tire, but they help one another persevere, and finally, as the sky turns yellow-pink, they reach the top, where the flag, a poem, and the feathers make for a simple celebration. After a satisfied moment of rest, they return to their small, apparently adult-free home as the stars come out (constellations are depicted). The flora and fauna of their Western woodland are labeled on each spread, and views of the children’s sketches share more of the experience with readers. Well-designed pictures create a depth and fullness that immerse readers in the forest. Endmatter makes clever use of Wren’s sketch pad to offer additional information about things seen in the woods.

Utterly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7461-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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. 2, 2021

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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