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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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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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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