Heaping helpings of hurrahs for the hoopoe! (Picture book. 6-8)


A teeming tower of birthday hullaballoo over 6 feet (about 190 cm) high.

The hoopoe has invited her animal friends to her 10th birthday party—and she has a lot of friends. Here, with casual disregard for constraints of weight or gravity, over 100 creatures from snail to snow leopard, flying squirrels to flamingos stack themselves one atop another. They make a dazzling mob of flat shapes and bright colors, with streamers, presents, balloons, and a vertiginous layer cake adding to the festive frenzy. To tempt viewers into taking closer looks Dieudonné supplies both small, labeled versions of each party guest around the edges and leading comments or questions: “Who’s hiding under a tortoise shell? And who’s pretending to be a parrot?” Half the length of the author’s Megalopolis (2016) but likewise formatted as a long strip folded to fit between two covers, the outing is made to be laid on the floor or a long table and read section by section as it unfolds. An alliterative (uncredited) translation of the French original (“The walrus warbles, the turkey trills, the fox yodels and the swan squeals, while the crocodile croons tunefully”) adds further swing to a party that’s only just getting started by the final panel.

Heaping helpings of hurrahs for the hoopoe! (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65139-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.


When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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