CHICKY CHICKY CHOOK CHOOK

MacLennan’s appealing cover immediately grabs attention with five, bright yellow chicks jigging against a brown background. Composed of rhyming sounds, the visual narrative depicts yellow chicks, golden bees and striped kitty-cats as they play, nap and get drenched by raindrops. Preschoolers will respond to the motion-filled images and the fuzzy shapes, though some spreads require distance to distinguish the players. The rhythm breaks flow at times with some blips in rhyme, e.g. “Splitter, splatter. Wet. Wet. Wetter.” But the charm lies in the illustrations: vivid yellow, orange, green and black/white stripes against the brown textured paper. One oddity is the black-beaded eyes on all the figures; one of the pair is often spatially unattached from the head, appearing to float. The quirky style may elicit questions from kids, though it’s not unattractive. The large type and elongated format add appeal and invite reading aloud and participation. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 20, 2007

ISBN: 1-905417-40-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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LEO’S TREE

In a sort of prequel to The Giving Tree, Leo’s father plants a “scratchy, branchy” linden in the yard to mark Leo’s birth. Boy and tree grow through several sets of seasons, until a second tree joins the first to mark the arrival of Leo’s little sister Sophie. Gardeners will cringe to see Leo’s dad carrying Sophie’s sapling by its trunk rather than its bundled root-ball, then planting it far too close to Leo’s tree—but Hilo’s earlier scenes of toddler and growing tree together on a sunlit lawn, surrounded by flowers, birds, and plush toys, do project an engagingly idyllic air, and the pared-down text—“Rosy cheeks rosy trees / Crunchy golden linden leaves / Leo creeping / Crawling standing . . . / Leaves and Leo all fall down!”—will draw new readers. A tried-and-true theme, pleasantly iterated. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-55037-845-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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As a book, mildly satisfying; as a greeting card, rather expensive.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

A cheery board book that plays the familiar tune.

Anthropomorphic animals, digitally illustrated with a vintage style and palette, play different musical instruments as they make their ways to a cafe to celebrate Otter’s birthday. There’s not much of a story arc in its 10 pages, which lends the book a greeting-card feel. Each spread highlights an animal or two and their respective instruments: Bear plays a flute, Badger strums a guitar, Wolf drives by with a bass in its truck, Cat plays violin, and birthday boy Otter hears Moose on the piano. Press a shiny musical note in each illustration, and the book plays an instrumental line from the familiar song. The quality of the recordings is quite good, capturing the sound and tone of each instrument, and the culminating spread is an ensemble playing the full song. A “glowing candle” is promoted on the cover along with the book’s musical feature, and it appears on a cake on the final spread when all the animals from the prior pages gather to celebrate Otter’s special day. In a potentially confusing turn, Wolf holds the cake instead of playing bass (a fox has stepped in), and an opossum and a rabbit play tambourine, though they weren’t pictured with instruments earlier.

As a book, mildly satisfying; as a greeting card, rather expensive. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9943-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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