ROSA GOES TO DAYCARE

The Swedish duo that produced the popular Sam books team up for their third book featuring the mischievous and appealing bullterrier Rosa (Rosa Moves to Town, 1997, etc.). Once again, the perky puppy stands in for the average preschooler, as she struggles mightily with the issues of self-control, curiosity, and courage. Rosa’s human “aunt” needs to have Rosa cared for during the day and selects a doggy day-care center for her charge. Youngsters will quickly discover that Rosa’s day-care experiences parallel their own: she has to manage the unique personalities and quirks of her companions while adapting to new routines and rituals. However, a story that begins quietly as a sweet, quotidian catalogue of the day-care experience takes an anxious and scary turn at the close. While on a walk in the park with her doggy companions and their caretaker ladies, the adventurous and ever-curious Rosa ventures onto a frozen pond to investigate the catch of some ice fishermen. She promptly falls through the fishing hole into the freezing-cold water. The fishermen grab Rosa by the ears and pull her to safety. Back at day care, Rosa, now safe and warm, cuddles with her friends until her aunt comes to take her home. All’s well, etc. Eriksson’s soft colored-pencil drawings are rich in endearing details. Rosa and her companions are smartly rendered, with far more fully formed personalities than their human companions. The text is dense on the page when compared with the typical American picture book, and this Rosa story is better shared on the lap than with a group. Best for established fans. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88899-391-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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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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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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