A sure hit that encourages independence—but not without a bit of gentle teasing.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE BEAR'S BIG HOUSE

When disgruntled Little Bear leaves his family to seek adventure outside their forest home, he finds a deserted house—and just enough adventure for one day.

The cover art makes good use of the large, vertical layout, with the comical, long-snouted Little Bear in the foreground and a red, multistoried house in the background. That art immediately poses questions that will be answered in time. For one, why is Little Bear struggling through pine trees with a ruffled, polka-dot piece of cloth tied around his neck and a standing lamp in his paws? From the beginning, text and art create giggles, because Little Bear has so many recognizable human qualities: both resentment and affection toward family members; refusal to play with peers when on an independent mission; imaginative fears; false bravado after returning to the safety of home. Young readers will appreciate the irony evident in several places, as when Little Bear insists that little boys, unlike bear cubs, are unencumbered adventurers. The surprising climax and the coda also provide irony. The text, translated (without credit) from the French, is shot through with wry, funny turns: “Little Bear takes courage into his own paws.” From the scarlet, plant-festooned endpapers to Little Bear’s hilarious antics with house amenities and from Little Bear’s imagined, Sendak-ian monsters to the details of forest animals fleeing through trees, the art perfectly complements the lighthearted text.

A sure hit that encourages independence—but not without a bit of gentle teasing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7371-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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