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From the Baby Animal Tales series

This quiet book is ideal for bedtime reading.

A young bunny finds a whole new world waiting outside her cozy burrow in this first book from the Baby Animal Tales series.

Worried she doesn’t have what it takes to be a “big bunny in the big outdoors,” young Bunny is afraid to leave the security of her burrow and see the world outside. Her friend, Mouse, points out her special strengths: a nose that sniffs, whiskers that twitch, and ears that listen. “You have everything you need to be a bunny,” Mouse says. With encouragement from her friend, Bunny wanders away from her comfortable burrow to explore new surroundings. As Bunny learns more about her world and her many capabilities, her confidence grows. When she comes nose to nose with a fox in the woods, she discovers just how well her running, bouncing, and jumping feet can also be used for thumping the ground and warning other bunnies of danger. “ ‘You see,’ said Mouse, proudly, ‘you are very good at being a bunny, after all.’ ” It’s a calming story, although a few word choices (burrow, tunnel) might need to be explained to the very young members of the audience. Chu’s watercolor-style illustrations of plants, bugs, and the friendly mouse appear throughout the story, with Winnel’s photographic images of the young protagonist collaged in. As a whole, the illustrations give the book a charming, vintage feel. Both the look and the quiet, encouraging storyline also appear in series companion Goodnight, Little Llama, which publishes simultaneously. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.2-by-15-inch double-page spreads viewed at 75% of actual size.)

This quiet book is ideal for bedtime reading. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4840-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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