A nature-themed lead-in to Thanksgiving and, for the science-minded, a beginning lesson in adaptations.

IF ANIMALS GAVE THANKS

From the If Animals series

As summer turns to fall, adorable forest animals count their blessings in Paul and Walker’s newest addition to the If Animals… series.

Rabbit and Squirrel are each thankful for things that keep them warm—Rabbit for his thick fur and Squirrel for her puffy tail. Crow’s thankful for the “great bowl of sky,” and “Raccoon would chir-chirrrrr / thanks for her cub / and nuz-nuzzle him / and rub rubbi-rub.” Frog’s grateful for her “bug-catching tongue and her lily-pad boat”; Beaver, for his oarlike tail. A bit oddly, Coyote howls “thanks for the / bright, sunny day.” Bear makes appearances throughout the pages, collecting clover, then honey, a basket of blueberries, and a fish. Turtle and Skunk round out the thankful friends who all gather round Bear’s laden table. After their feast, they lounge in the grass together, their contented looks saying everything. Paul’s rhyming verses here emphasize some of the sounds forest animals make, the typeset changing color and alignment to suit, and no doubt young listeners and their enthusiastic adults will enjoy voicing them. Walker’s cuddly creatures are like stuffed animals come to life, all gentle smiles and dot eyes. The softly colored palette and rounded edges in the illustrations further add to the sweet mood.

A nature-themed lead-in to Thanksgiving and, for the science-minded, a beginning lesson in adaptations. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-31341-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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