A deceptively simple mix of engaging story, appreciation of differences, and introduction to moths and butterflies.

MOTH & BUTTERFLY

TA-DA!

Change is in the air!

Two caterpillars romp happily through a garden, but something is about to happen! Minimal, energetic text and brightly colored illustrations full of kid appeal tell the tale of the two friends and capture the excitement of change in this exuberant introduction to the concept of metamorphosis and the differences between a moth and a butterfly. The story artfully incorporates the idea of change and the appreciation of differences and similarities between two friends with the concrete differences between the two insects that develop over the course of their life cycles; initial commonalities are described (legs, spots, eating habits) before the friends disappear into pupae to undergo metamorphosis, and then “POP!” Each appears in a new winged form (a moth and a butterfly), and differences are succinctly enumerated (color, movement, camouflage, sleep cycles). Warmth abounds, and life continues as the two friends see young caterpillars and greet them with a cheery “Happy Metamorphosis!” The simple text includes speech bubbles that add to the excitement and fun, and the author’s choice to focus on one big word and concept (metamorphosis) rather than a hefty vocabulary or the full life cycle (eggs are unmentioned) makes this a great choice for the very young.

A deceptively simple mix of engaging story, appreciation of differences, and introduction to moths and butterflies. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4051-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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

HEY, DUCK!

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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Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous.

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THE KING OF KINDERGARTEN

Newbery honoree Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017) shows a black boy what to expect on his first day as “king” of kindergarten.

A young boy greets the reader with a sweet smile. “The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. / It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown.” The text continues in second person while the boy gets ready for his first day—brushing “Ye Royal Chiclets,” dressing himself, eating breakfast with his mother and father before riding “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress.” The kind teacher and the other children at his table are as eager to meet him as he is to meet them. Important topics are covered in class (“shapes, the alphabet, and the never-ending mystery of numbers”), but playing at recess and sharing with new friends at lunch are highlights too, followed by rest time and music. The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king’s smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. The other children and parents are a mix of races; the teacher and staff are mostly brown.

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4074-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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