The joy in hard work, above and beyond the gratification, feels absent in Bunnyland, which is a serious downer.

READ REVIEW

EARN IT!

From the Moneybunny series

Everyone, bunnies included, must learn to make money the old-fashioned way. By earning it.

McLeod’s vehicle is a sweetly ambitious bunny named Bun who is all energy and hot colors; reds, oranges, and yellows splash her cartoon look. “I want to be RICH and FAMOUS!” Bun yodels (“rich” meaning lots and lots of carrots in Bunnyland). “And how are you going to do that, my dear?” asks the mother bunny, who is busy digging a garden; in her grays and blacks, she has as much joie de vivre as a toil-worn Russian serf. Bun’s solution is to become a famous singer, but mother explains that fame and fortune don’t come overnight: they are the product of “practice, practice, practice.” Bun is impatient to reach the limelight and does a little math, realizing that working her way up the ladder will require investment of work and carrots to reach goals along the way. “Then, if you keep earning carrots, you can save enough to record a song that lots of bunnies will buy.” Readers may wonder why Bun doesn’t simply plant 40 hectares of carrots. The economics lesson sits uneasily next to the emphasis on achieving fame; the last page feels entirely arbitrary, with its return to math and the reminder that Moneybunnies know what “counts”: “love.”

The joy in hard work, above and beyond the gratification, feels absent in Bunnyland, which is a serious downer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy.

COZY

An agreeable Alaskan musk ox embodies that old Ben Franklin adage, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

When Cozy the ox is separated from his herd in the midst of a winter storm, he decides to wait it out. His massive size and warmth attract small animals—a lemming family and a snowshoe hare—desperate to escape the cold. However, as bigger, predatory creatures arrive, Cozy must lay down some “house rules” that grow with each new creature that arrives until they extend to: “Quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, no pouncing, and be mindful of others!” Over time, the guests grow antsy, but at last spring arrives and Cozy can find his family. The tale is not dissimilar to another Jan Brett tale of cold weather and animals squeezing into a small space (The Mitten, 1989). Meticulous watercolors refrain from anthropomorphizing, rendering everyone, from massive Cozy to the tiniest of lemmings, in exquisite detail. This moving tale of gentle kindness serves as a clarion call for anyone searching for a book about creating your own community in times of trial. Brett even includes little details about real musk oxen in the text (such as their tendency to form protective circles to surround their vulnerable young), but readers hoping for further information in any backmatter will be disappointed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.3% of actual size.)

For readers who haven’t a musk ox of their own to snuggle up with, this tale proves just as cozy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10979-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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