As charming as two bears can be.

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 Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Hee haw.

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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 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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