ALWAYS LOTS OF HEINIES AT THE ZOO

Rhyming text elaborates on the bottoms of various animals as readers follow a family’s trip to the zoo. The snake has a shiny heinie and the cockatoo’s is feathered. Some are bright pink or cobalt blue (though it looks like a pale lilac in the illustration) and others jet-black. The jaunty tale reminds readers that although an animal’s behind does not have to be hidden at the zoo, humans must keep theirs covered. This isn’t always easy for children, however, especially when one wants to put on his newly acquired parrot costume immediately. Santat’s detailed, full-page illustrations carry the story along, injecting subtle humor into the scenes, such as one where the lions are penned just across the way from their natural prey. The colors are neutral safari tones except when, as in nature, bursts of color shine through. Use of scale and perspective bring the reader right into the zoo, most notably at the penguin and jellyfish exhibits. Still, despite this cleverness, an additional butt-book purchase. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4231-1352-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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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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FARFALLINA & MARCEL

Farfallina the caterpillar and Marcel the gosling become fast friends when they meet during a rainshower, taking an immediate liking to one another. The two play hide-and-seek, each taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the other (Marcel can’t climb trees like Farfallina, Farfallina can’t move as fast as Marcel) and enjoy traversing the pond together, Farfallina riding on Marcel’s back. One day, Farfallina doesn’t feel like herself, so she climbs a tree while Marcel waits at the bottom. He waits and waits, until finally, lonely and worried, he gives up. When he next sees his reflection in the pond, he can hardly recognize himself; he’s grown so much. Alert readers will surmise that Farfallina has done some growing of her own, and it’s true: when she finally emerges, she has become a beautiful butterfly. She descends, saddened that Marcel did not wait for her; the only creature in the vicinity is a handsome goose in their pond. Of course, the goose is Marcel, but neither friend recognizes the other. They are attracted to one another all over again, and are overjoyed and amazed to realize each other’s true identity. Keller’s (Cecil’s Garden, 2001, etc.) watercolor illustrations feature a bright pink caterpillar Farfallina, who turns into a glorious orange butterfly, and a realistically gray-brown Marcel against backgrounds of summery, outdoorsy blues and greens. This heartwarming, colorfully illustrated story underscores beautifully the power of true friendship without glossing over the reality that change is inevitable as friends grow and mature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-623932-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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