A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme.

THE THREE LITTLE KITTENS

This adaptation of a traditional English nursery rhyme features a contemporary setting, dialogue, and a small twist.

Three anthropomorphized kittens wearing conspicuous, colorful mittens (but no other clothing) are seen outside a cozy suburban house, skateboarding, playing ball, and skipping rope. A sweet scent wafts from an open window, through which a smiling cat in a dotted apron can be seen removing a pie from the oven. In their race to the door the kittens lose their mittens, of course, and the story unfolds from there. In some cases, the rhymes appear in dialogue balloons, at other times as part of the main text, both of which also include additional, original lines. Unexpected interjections add humor, as when the kittens react to the mess they’ve made by eating blueberry pie while wearing mittens: “ ‘Ooops!’ ‘Eeew!’ ‘Gross!’ ” Created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache, McClintock’s feline portraits pack plenty of personality. Big-footed and slightly round-bellied, the variously colored kittens have big eyes and sweet smiles. Mother, meanwhile, is slim and sleek, with extremely expressive whiskers. The setting is simply presented, limited to the outside of the house, inside the kitchen, and at the table. At times the characters appear against blank, softly colored backgrounds. Alternating double-page spreads, single pages, and occasional panels add interest and move the action along smoothly. Sharp-eyed listeners may notice an additional character whose presence is acknowledged in the cheerful conclusion.

A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-12587-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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