Overall, though, this is a uniquely attractive work with which to round out the bird section, and it is overall an appealing...

ABOUT PARROTS

A GUIDE FOR CHILDREN

A vibrant variety of parrots is portrayed in clear, vivid watercolor illustrations with a simple text describing physical characteristics and habits.

Each full-color plate shows one or two parrot species in the appropriate habitat in flight, feeding or nesting. The paintings occupy the right of each two-page opening, with a single sentence on the left side pitched for very young readers and listeners. More information appears in the brief but rich backmatter paragraphs, with one paragraph per plate. The text could have been further enriched with maps and size charts: “Some parrots are big. Others are small.” The contrasting sizes of the hyacinth macaws and buff-faced pygmy parrots that appear in the accompanying picture are mentioned in the backmatter—but a young audience might want to know the relative sizes of others. Too, a visual guide to the locations of parrot species might help readers who are wondering how close a parrot habitat might be found. Readers encountering this book on its own will learn that parrots are birds but will need to know that birds have feathers and lay eggs—neither is specifically addressed. While vocalizations are mentioned, readers wanting to know which ones can “talk” with humans will be disappointed.

Overall, though, this is a uniquely attractive work with which to round out the bird section, and it is overall an appealing and comprehensive introduction. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-795-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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