BULLDOZER HELPS OUT

From the Bulldozer series

A sure hit at storytime, bedtime, or any cozy reading time.

A little bulldozer makes a big difference in this story with an unexpected twist at the end.

Bulldozer feels left out and overlooked on the construction site, where bigger vehicles such as Cement Mixer, Crane Truck, and Digger Truck (a backhoe), among others, are hard at work. “I can help,” he tells them, hopefully, only to be brushed aside—at first. Then Crane suggests that an area off to the side needs to be cleared and flattened, and Bulldozer zooms into action. But all of a sudden, out of the others’ sights, he pauses and just gives the pile of earth little nudges before “he hunkered down, hushed and watchful.…Hours passed.” When the big trucks find him they are dismayed to see that he’s accomplished so little, until they look closer and see that he’s been watching over a mother cat and six kittens, curled up together near Bulldozer’s blade. They praise him, Dump Truck offering, “taking care of babies? Now that’s a rough, tough job.” Closing block-print illustrations of a beaming Bulldozer seem unfinished against empty white backgrounds as compared to the other spreads, which undermines the cohesion of this otherwise excellent picture book.

A sure hit at storytime, bedtime, or any cozy reading time. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5894-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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

BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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