Beginning birding at its best, this pleasing presentation is ideal for families with preschoolers but would work well for...

READ REVIEW

EVERY DAY BIRDS

A birding primer and rhyming introduction to 20 familiar birds.

Poet and nature lover VanDerwater opens her introduction with four lines that invite a young audience to join her explorations: “Every day we watch for birds / weaving through our sky. / We listen to their calls and songs. / We like to see them fly.” She goes on to introduce 20 North American birds, representing common groups, with well-formed rhyming couplets. Each bird is presented on a single page along with one memorable characteristic: “NUTHATCH perches upside-down”; “GOOSE flies in a V.” She’s chosen birds preschoolers are likely to notice, birds they’ll encounter outside their windows and in their yards—chickadees, cardinals, and sparrows—and birds they might see on trips to parks and beaches—hawks, herons, gulls. Throughout, and appropriately for her very young audience, she’s used a single word to name the bird: jay for blue jay, finch for a goldfinch. Metrano’s bold cut-paper illustrations show identifiable birds in appropriate poses against a clean, solid-color background, with just a hint of their likely habitat. This inviting introduction concludes with the poem as a whole and additional facts about each bird family next to thumbnail reproductions of each image.

Beginning birding at its best, this pleasing presentation is ideal for families with preschoolers but would work well for storytime, too. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-69980-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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