SUPERFAB SAVES THE DAY

Up, up and away! (Picture book. 3-6)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Superfab! 

The best-dressed bunny member of the superhero world is ready to thwart crime, flout danger, save those in trouble and capture villains—but only after finding the right outfit, which naturally can be very time consuming. Since going through his walk-in closet for just the right costume can lead to extreme lateness, it looks like Superfab will never be first on the scene to show his true colors. When the calls for help stop coming in, Superfab is supersad—until the phone rings with news that a new monster is in town. All of the other superheroes have failed, and it looks like only a fashion-conscious champion of good can hope to prevail! Brightly colored pencil illustrations show the brave young rabbit as he proclaims, “Justice and good taste are going to save the day!” and becomes a conquering hero by using his super (and very fashionable) gloves, even managing to make a new friend in the process. Young listeners will giggle along with the gentle humor and enjoy the mild suspense in this anything-but-stereotypical depiction of how important it is to be yourself.

Up, up and away! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-076-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

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. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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