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Sweet and pretty—but limited in its audience appeal.

The story of how the Exodus from Egypt begins for the very young.

Ever so carefully, a mother casts off her baby, carefully wrapped in a blanket, in a basket. Fish swim around Baby Moses. An ibis lands close by and frees the basket that has become entangled in reeds. The tiny hamper keeps floating on the busy river Nile, past boats and attentive hippos. Mighty Crocodile shelters it in a storm. Finally, the pharaoh’s daughter gently picks up the baby and holds him close. The story of the infant Moses is, of course, the beginning of the tale of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. Families familiar with the opening lines of Exodus, Chapter 2, may welcome this account, told in rhyming quatrains, as part of the holiday celebration of Passover. There is no note or afterword that provides a credit or context, which could cause confusion or even concern to some readers. Moses is named from the beginning rather than by the pharaoh’s daughter, who plucks him from the Nile at the end, which will disorient readers who know the story and mislead those who don’t. The full-bleed watercolor illustrations depict a lush and detailed setting of flowers, butterflies, and fish, and they captivate in a way the text does not. Even the crocodile, with its tail wrapped protectively around the basket, manages to appear comforting. Moses, his mother, and the pharaoh’s daughter all have brown skin.

Sweet and pretty—but limited in its audience appeal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0609-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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