Bear’s hilarious adventure begs for multiple readings.


Bear happily gathers mouthwatering foods from a park’s visitors until he realizes the moon wants his feast.

To sooth his growling belly, Bear dances around a forested park in search of a meal. He’s thrilled by the berries, honey, and fish that he forages, but Bear is most elated by the marshmallows and sausage he frees from ice chests belonging to the humans. Round and full, Moon brightens the night sky during Bear’s spree—clearly Moon has an eye on Bear’s goodies. Protective of his feast, Bear runs and hides from Moon. When he finally escapes Moon’s bright light, Bear has a change of heart and shares his picnic with those around him, a multiethnic and multispecies gathering. Farrell evokes the emotional valleys of a chase scene when Bear’s hungry excitement evolves into anxiety as he tries to avoid Moon’s gaze. Farrell’s conservative use of color in his pencil-and-digital artwork allows Bear’s brown fur and comical actions to pop in each scene. Each page deserves careful study so as not to miss the wacky reactions from animals and humans alike; as the only text is Bear’s increasingly paranoid exclamations, there is much to interpret. Young readers who grasp the concept that the moon does not actually follow them will be entertained by Bear’s antics. Not only will Bear make readers laugh out loud, but he illustrates how sharing can build a community.

Bear’s hilarious adventure begs for multiple readings. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4159-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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