BEAR AND BUNNY

Whimsical, pretty, and endearing.

Although close friends Bear and Bunny live independently, they decide to acquire a pet together.

In a palette of gentle pastels, two benign, softly cartoonish characters move through pages of woodland and meadow, talking and singing, apart and together. Refreshingly, the animals appear equally content whether together or on their own. They sing. “Wandering together / Wandering together / Wandering together to see what we can see.” This particular little ditty and its pastoral illustration strongly evoke A.A. Milne’s Pooh and Piglet. The youngest readers will be delighted by their own relative sophistication in comparison to the furry friends: “You see, the bear is sure the bunny is a very small bear. The bunny is sure the bear is a very large bunny. This is not so, but it would be too hard to explain it to them. Besides, it doesn’t matter.” This same humor continues through a discussion about what makes an appropriate pet and on to the friends’ eventual choice: a green “kitty” that answers their questions with, “CROAK!” The somewhat lengthy text has a good midpoint for stopping: the first of two naps by the animal friends, before their discussion of pets. The last page of the book is sweet but weak, ending in a conversation; readers may wish that the author had ended with the same narrative voice that so beautifully opens the book.

Whimsical, pretty, and endearing. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7153-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

HAPPY EASTER, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character.

Pookie celebrates Easter with a play date and holiday activities.

Pookie’s friend Bean, a gray puppy, comes over for Easter fun that includes lots of bouncing around and egg decorating. After Bean goes home, Pookie gets excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival and goes to sleep dreaming of a large chocolate egg. Like the other Pookie books before it, this one is told in rhyme from the perspective of a loving grown-up addressing the little pig, which keeps the pace moving and makes for a great read-aloud. Bean and Pookie are realistically—and endearingly—childlike, from Pookie’s pronunciation of yellow as “lellow!” to the joyful mess they make while decorating eggs. There are plenty of sweet and festive touches, such as the bunny ears that Bean and Pookie (and Pookie’s teddy) wear and the daffodils painted on the end of Pookie’s bed. The illustrations include large, full-page images as well as smaller vignettes against solid backgrounds. One page shows Pookie and parent looking out the window at the moon, anticipating Easter’s spoils. For fans of Boynton and little Pookie, this Easter tale is exactly as expected: a touch of playfulness, a relatable story, and comfort in the familiar. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat Easter outing with a beloved character. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66592-838-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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