The few giggles from the illustrations don’t make this more than a pork-barrel project.



An origin story for the Superpigs looks a lot like one many readers will be familiar with.

“Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. They dreamed of becoming SUPERHEROES! In fact,” readers are told, “they were so obsessed that their family house became cluttered with all of their superhero” paraphernalia. Evidently fed up with the mess, their mother sends them off into the world to find homes of their own, and after hours of travel, they arrive in Fairyland. Signs on trees warn of a wolf, and their new friend Little Red Riding Hood tells them stories of stolen sheep and stolen granny nighties. The pigs build their houses (you know the ones). Along comes the wolf and chinny-chin-chin rebuffs and huffing and puffing…it all leads to the inevitable two flat houses and one scalded, captured wolf. All of Fairyland declares them the “THREE LITTLE SUPERPIGS”—and the pigs get their wish. Evans’ unnecessary prequel to her cheeky, fractured original (2018) is a head-scratcher. Part of the charm of her first was that it picked up where the traditional tale left off. Why return to the source material with a rote retelling of the tale that a great many in her audience already know? Yes, this has a superhero twist, but that simply rehashes the first Superpig outing.

The few giggles from the illustrations don’t make this more than a pork-barrel project. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-24548-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.


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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