In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way.

THERE'S NOTHING TO DO!

Petty and Boldt’s young frog often has plenty to gripe about (I Don’t Want to Be Big, 2016, etc.); this time, he is bored.

It is a whine that no caregiver can ever escape: “There’s nothing to do!” A bespectacled older frog asks, “You can’t think of anything?” Full of childhood angst—sprawled out on the floor in despair—the small frog answers, “I can think of lots of things… / buuuuut I don’t want to do any of them.” After naysaying all possibilities, even the ever popular “then clean your room,” the frog decides to ask some friends for advice. Rabbit really likes to hop in circles and then stare into space. Cat suggests licking in between toes, and Owl thinks sleeping is the best idea. Pig helpfully unfurls a list of “Pig’s Fantastic List of Things to Do When He Doesn’t Know What to Do.” Unfortunately, nothing on the list is very fantastic. Boldt’s putty-mouthed frog is the picture of boredom and dejection, finally brightening at the yogic realization that sometimes doing nothing, just being in the moment, is better than anything. This is a lesson well-learned, except when school is the next day and the young frog happily wants to do…nothing (oops).

In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55803-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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