FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS

A leggy green frog and a squat green toad do for friendship something of what Little Bear does for kinship. Come April Toad's reluctance to end his long winter nap ("A little more sleep will not hurt me") prompts lonesome Frog to pull off the calendar pages one by one until he reaches stay-awake May. Then there's "The Story" Toad can't think up when Frog is sick which becomes the story—of how Toad made himself sick standing on his head and hitting it against a wall trying—told him by a recovered Frog. "A Lost Button" turns up at home after Frog has found every button but for Toad (who makes suit-able amends). But the best is yet to come—in Toad's anxiety that he looks funny in his bathing suit (which keeps him shivering in the water) and his brusque "Of course I do" when Frog and the others laugh. At the last, affectingly if more predictably, is "The Letter" that Frog writes to Toad so he'll get some mail. . . and sends by snail. Imperfect friendship or it wouldn't be true—and most perfectly expressed in their faces.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0064440206

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1970

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Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status.

I BELIEVE IN BUNNYCORNS

Copious amounts of glitter and rainbows and a die-cut rainbow flower add a bit of interest to this celebration of the titular one-horned bunnies.

With simple, rhyming text and high-contrast, neon illustrations, this book is like cotton candy for the eyes and ears. Like that sugary confection, it’s sweet—arguably, too much so. “We’re going on a bunny hunt / to find the bunnycorns. / We follow trails of sparkle dust / and look for shiny horns! // We’ll find them in the places / where candy carrots grow. / I CAN SEE A BUNNYCORN! / Let’s go and say hello!” As the claims about the bunnycorns grow more extravagant, the artwork explodes in garish bursts of color. As for the aforementioned die-cut flower, it starts as a large cutout on the front cover of the book, becoming progressively smaller through each successive page, till it ends as a glittery, yellow single flower on the second-to-last double-page spread. In the denouement that follows, the narrative voice breaks the literary fourth wall: “If you believe in bunnycorns, / then they’ll believe in you. / ’Cause bunnycorns are special, / and baby, YOU are too!” The use of bunnies, of course, constitutes a radical departure from author McLean and illustrator Le Tandé’s 2019 opus, I Love My Llamacorn.

Cute, harmless, and unlikely to achieve classic status. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12643-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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