A pretty, hardcover greeting card.



A cute-as-a-button moppet adopts, raises, and loves a lost little duckling.

Keane’s digital illustrations have the loose, line-and-wash, mid-20th-century look of Marc Simont or Hilary Knight, with the exception of their central character, a thoroughly modern brown-skinned girl with two black pom-pom pigtails. When the little, yellow duckling follows a butterfly out of the park, the protagonist finds it and brings it to her well-appointed row house (where she apparently lives alone, as there’s no sign of an adult anywhere). She nurtures it through night feedings, plays with it inside, and, recognizing it’s time to say goodbye, takes it back to the park, where it swims away. It’s a 32-page expansion of the old poster platitude, “If you love something, let it go,” and (spoiler alert) the duckling does indeed come back the following spring, now grown and with a brood of its own. Unfortunately, the text is simply a series of soppy, frequently nonsensical “Love is” statements entirely in line with the platitude. “Love is holding something fragile, tiny wings and downy head. / Love is noisy midnight feedings, shoe box right beside the bed.” Having evidently decided to sacrifice sense to scansion and rhyme, Adams mystifyingly and periodically abandons that scansion, but never does she let go of the treacly sentiment. The charming illustrations mark Keane as one to watch, with her admirable command of line, composition, and narrative possibility.

A pretty, hardcover greeting card. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3997-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.


What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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