As charming as two bears can be.

READ REVIEW

THE BEAR'S SEA ESCAPE

Papa Bear is once again in hot pursuit of Little Bear in this visually delectable, seek-and-find sequel to Chaud’s award-winning The Bear’s Song (2013).

It’s wintertime, and Papa Bear and his boy cub suddenly realize the snowy rooftop of the Opéra Garnier in Paris is no place to hunker down for the winter. The teddy-bear room of an elegant department store seems cozy enough, but while Papa Bear snoozes, a little boy decides to take Little Bear home. (All’s fine until he discovers “his new toy bear is more bear and less toy!”) When Papa wakes up, the chase begins. The oversize, elaborately detailed, color-saturated artwork effervesces with intriguing stories within stories, and it’s up to readers to locate Papa and his cub amid the glorious mayhem, from the city streets to a train to a cruise ship to a tropical island. The chase takes Papa Bear underwater with the whales and into a jungle, where he’s swept up in a conga line at a masquerade party! From atop a sumptuous banquet table, Little Bear trumpets his own tune for his beloved Papa Bear…and he is found. This story, first published in France as Coquillages et petit ours (2012), lacks some of the poetic playfulness and polish of the first book, but the charming, lavish artwork and the just-challenging-enough spot-the-bear game more than make up for it.

As charming as two bears can be. (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2743-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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