EWE AND AYE

A sporty sheep and an equally sporty primate find a way to realize a common aspiration: to fly. 

New readers will find the homophones appealing and the brief text amusing. “Ewe and Aye were different. / Ewe loved wheels, and Aye loved wings.” Though the jacket notes will have to be consulted to understand that Aye is an aye-aye lemur (and perhaps to learn a ewe is a female sheep), once that is established, the resulting wordplay is pretty funny. Ryan’s punning is nicely expanded in Ruble’s zippy illustrations. Ewe seems quite nimble and Aye quite jolly, with their sneakered feet and round goggles making them look like kindred spirits. Ruble's rich, flat colors and simple, solid cartoon shapes are appropriately comical and keep the action going. The two communicate their plan in pictographs. A double gatefold offers a chance to show the two splendidly aloft among bubbly clouds: “…there’s nowhere Aye and Ewe can’t fly,” though the first part of that sentence (“And now together”) is positioned awkwardly on the right side of the closed page opening. And their exuberant shout of “Weeeeeeeeee!” seems to break the homonymic theme, though it works anyway. Young readers may want to turn right back to the beginning to see how all the silliness fits together so neatly.

Lots of fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7591-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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. 2, 2021

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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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