A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle.

When will the last little chick hatch?

In a farmyard story laden with egg-cellent puns, anthropomorphic chickens Mama and Papa and their two big chicks (who are unmentioned in the text, appearing only in the illustrations) wait for their three new eggs to hatch. It’s very “egg-citing.” The first two eggs hatch quickly, but the third won’t budge. The babies each “hatch a plan” involving boisterous barnyard activities, but nothing works, “Maybe we just need to be patient,” suggests Mama, and then the family settles in to read while they wait. The chicks, and even Papa, start to drift off to sleep as Mama reads The Princess and the Peacock, Beauty and the Beak, and then the eponymous Peeping Beauty, but everyone awakens as they hear the chick in the egg start to peep during the last story. Inspired by the “peck on the cheek” the rooster gives to Peeping Beauty in the book, the family circles around the last egg to “give a little extra love.” This does the trick, and not one, but two little chicks hatch from the egg in a surprise ending. Waring’s bright, playful digital illustrations augment the text’s humor, but their addition of the two big chicks seems unnecessary and potentially confusing, since they closely resemble the first chicks to hatch, and with no names among the four of them, readers will be forgiven for not knowing exactly which chick is which.

A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7272-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2018


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sentimental but effective.

A book aimed at easing separation anxiety and reinforcing bonds.

Twins Liza and Jeremy awaken during a thunderstorm and go to their mother for comfort. She reassures them that they’re safe and says, “You know we’re always together, no matter what,” when they object to returning to bed. She then explains that when she was a child her mother told her about the titular “Invisible String,” encouraging them to envision it as a link between them no matter what. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love,” she tells them, reinforcing this idea as they proceed to imagine various scenarios, fantastic and otherwise, that might cause them to be separated in body. She also affirms that this string can “reach all the way to Uncle Brian in heaven” and that it doesn’t go away if she’s angry with them or when they have conflicts. As they go to bed, reassured, the children, who present white, imagine their friends and diverse people around the world connected with invisible strings, promoting a vision of global unity and empathy. While the writing often feels labored and needlessly repetitive, Lew-Vriethoff’s playful cartoon art enhances and lightens the message-driven text, which was originally published in 2000 with illustrations by Geoff Stevenson.

Sentimental but effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48623-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Close Quickview