A winning addition to the construction-vehicle shelf.

READ REVIEW

BULLDOZER'S BIG DAY

From the Bulldozer series

Bulldozer feels forgotten on his birthday, until a surprise brightens his day.

It’s Bulldozer’s big day, and he’s brimming with excitement. Bouncing across the construction site, the jubilant vehicle seeks out his friends. But Digger, Dump Truck, and the others seem too preoccupied to notice. (Participles are the order of the day: “scooping,” “sifting,” “mashing,” “lifting,” and more.) When the construction whistle blows, the deflated bulldozer starts to drag himself away, but then toots fill the air. Horns and engines resound as Crane hoists a giant cake up from a massive pit, much to Bulldozer’s delight. Action-packed pages and playful onomatopoeia will draw the construction-obsessed in, while the emotive little bulldozer, so perfectly personified, will capture the hearts and empathy of all. Fleming’s seemingly simple text is accessible, teachable, and loads of fun. As in Oh, No! (2012), she and Rohmann team up to great effect. Clever use of angles and perspective emphasize Bulldozer’s emotions of disappointment and joy, and the block prints have a warmth and authenticity that both entertain and endear Bulldozer to readers. Matte pages and an embossed cover add to its charm.

A winning addition to the construction-vehicle shelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0097-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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