THE POUT-POUT FISH CLEANS UP THE OCEAN

From the Pout-Pout Fish series

Well-meant but distressing.

The pout-pout fish finds more to pout about.

In the eighth book in this popular series (not counting holiday miniadventures, board books, and novelty tie-ins), Mr. Fish and his friends discover “a big…BIG…MESS” in the ocean. In rhyming stanzas, with an occasional refrain, Diesen tells of the dismal discovery, research, discussion, and consensus: “The problem is… / Us!!!” The friends agree to work together to solve it, inviting readers’ help. Hanna illustrates with his familiar cartoonish characters, letting his imagination fly with examples of what surrounds these ocean-dwellers as they journey to the trash mountain: straws, cups, and plastic bags; bits of plastic toys; bottles and cans; candy wrappers and pizza boxes; old electronics; broken sandals; tires; an abandoned ukelele; an Earth Day balloon (oh, the irony); six-pack rings; and more. Mr. Seahorse’s vehicle belches smelly exhaust; a fish behind him wears a gas mask. Two final spreads show the cooperative cleanup. Mr. Seahorse now rides a bicycle. Humorous details will keep readers coming back to the pictures again and again, but it’s not all laughs: There is an entangled turtle, a fish strangling in a six-pack ring, and more than one skeleton. An older audience will certainly get the point; young listeners may need a reminder from the adult reader to understand who really consumes fast food and leaves litter behind—the real “us” that threaten actual marine life. A final page offers suggestions for learning more, taking action, and sharing.

Well-meant but distressing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30934-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

Close Quickview