Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes—“too many to count”—this joyous treat will reward both family and...

READ REVIEW

BABY BEAR COUNTS ONE

The season’s turned from summer to fall since Baby Bear learned about the colors in his world (Baby Bear Sees Blue, 2012). Now, as he and Mama observe many creatures getting ready for winter, he learns to count.

In every way a lovely companion to the previous tale, this also stands well on its own. Baby Bear plies Mama with incessant questions—as preschoolers will do—and his patient parent answers and instructs. With each successive question and answer, the cub counts one more than before, from one to 10. As Mama forages for roots at the pond, Baby Bear asks, “Who is clapping for us, Mama?” “Those are the beavers,” responds Mama, “gathering twigs before winter comes.” A page turn reveals a trio of them, gnawing brush, swimming and slapping the water with an impressive, paddlelike tail. “Baby Bear counts 3.” Wolff’s lush watercolors illuminate black-inked linoleum prints. Her striking compositions play with perspective and depth of field, enabling children to enjoy bird’s-eye views as one woodpecker and then nine geese fly high, then higher, above Baby Bear. When the cub sprawls among wildflowers counting seven bees, readers are eye to eye at ground level, amid fallen apples, snails and a fuzzy caterpillar.

Brimming with visual treasures and ending with snowflakes—“too many to count”—this joyous treat will reward both family and group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4158-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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