As sweet as apple pie—though one slice might just be enough.

READ REVIEW

HUNGRY BUNNY

Bunny’s back (Bunny Slopes, 2016), and this time they’re hungry.

A rumbling tummy sends narrator Bunny to an apple tree. But—uh-oh, they can’t reach! Luckily, Bunny isn’t alone in their quest—they have readers! Bunny politely asks these readers to “shake the book” to make the apples fall. When leaves fall instead, Bunny next prompts readers to “blow” the leaves away. Unfortunately, Bunny’s scarf gets caught in the helpful gust. Trapped in the tree in the illustration, the scarf also extends physically out of the book as a ribbon artfully inserted at exactly the right page. Readers must grab the scarf/ribbon and move it to the next page so that Bunny can use it as a rope to reach the apples. Once their wagon is full of red deliciousness, Bunny wanders home. Along the way, readers must “tilt,” “rock,” and “turn” the book to keep Bunny moving. Rueda’s digitally-rendered charcoal illustrations are black and white with yellow tones. The sparse text highlights commands to readers in large-point, often playfully set red display type that, along with the red of various objects, creates a lovely accent. Though Rueda employed similar metafictive elements in the book’s predecessor, they’re used much more effectively and originally in this sequel. The ribbon will inevitably get misplaced during read-alouds, so it’s up to caregivers to remember to return it to its logical spot in the story.

As sweet as apple pie—though one slice might just be enough. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6255-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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