Inspiring and clever, this story captures the simple joy and limitless possibility of belief.

READ REVIEW

THE VERY BEARY TOOTH FAIRY

A young bear with a very loose tooth anticipates the visit of the mysterious, exciting and petrifying tooth fairy.

Being an obedient bear, Zach knows to stay away from humans; as his mother says, “They are dangerous and unpredictable.” One day, he wanders near a campsite and hears a young boy and his mother talking about a visit from the tooth fairy. Zach proceeds to ask his sister, Leah, and his friend, Harrison, about this night visitor: Just what kind of creature is this tooth-fairy, anyway? A human? Through the mischievous gift of a caramel from Leah, Zach’s tooth indeed falls out, much to his terror. It will be a long night of waiting to see if the tooth fairy is truly “dangerous and unpredictable.” Attentive readers will be rewarded by this tale of curiosity and redemption. Levine creates an emotional cliffhanger for the very young, supported by clever watercolor illustrations of a nearly parallel universe between the boy and the bear. The suspense of the plot shines bright, but the visual magic lasts. And although the story is about Zach, it is Leah who becomes magical. “A bear can be anyone,” says Zach’s mom. “And anyone can be a bear.” 

Inspiring and clever, this story captures the simple joy and limitless possibility of belief. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-439-43966-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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