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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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A good friend can change your life.

Duck loves settling down with a hot beverage when he reads, but that’s the only liquid for him—he doesn’t like getting wet. As a result, he dresses in a yellow rain slicker constantly and spends rainy days inside with the shutters drawn. This solitary existence continues until one night when a particularly bad storm creates a hole in Duck’s roof. When he sets out to investigate repairing it, he comes face to face with a lost frog on his doorstep. Even though Frog loves the water, the two develop a friendship through a shared love of reading. Frog eventually finds his way home, but the two have bonded, and Duck invites Frog to join him as a new roommate. Although the story’s soft cartoon illustrations are amusing—Duck peddling his bicycle in his slicker, boots, and sou’wester will elicit smiles—they can’t save the superficial message of the story. Duck’s phobia is never directly addressed, but once Frog moves in permanently, the rain slicker vanishes, so there’s a bit of a visual resolution. Books addressing new friendships are always needed, but the characters need to be developed to attract and inspire readers. This pale imitation of Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found (2006) doesn’t have the depth needed to carry the message. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-15.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Damp. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8917-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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