A cozy little charmer

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THE CHILLY PENGUIN

A penguin tries out various methods of getting toasty before settling on the warmest way of all—a hug with a friend.

Dapperly topped with a black derby hat, the smudgy, delicately lined avian stands out handsomely against a marbled, icy-blue background, looking miserably cold. Eager to solve the frosty problem, the penguin poses short, direct “what if” questions and then experiments with those ideas, a perfect call-and-answer format for young listeners to predict and problem-solve. Some attempts, such as knitting a fashionable red scarf, don’t quite bring the heat, while others, notably building a fire directly on the ice, have unpleasant, watery consequences. The eventual solution, in which the protagonist and another penguin inch closer together over the course of several page turns until they cross the gutter and hug will make everyone feel “warm and snuggly.” Throughout, von Kitzing masterfully uses scale and perspective to create drama, from the extreme close-up of an exhausted penguin collapsed after ice-skating, defeated and “still chilly,” to the unexpected plunge through the melted ice that causes the bird to break the bottom edge of the frame. Small details such as the dotted-pink cheeks that appear on both penguins’ faces during their embrace make the minimalist art feel rich and full.

A cozy little charmer . (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78285-406-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Wonderful, indeed

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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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