An odd little story, but a fresh example of Bruna’s work for a contemporary audience.

READ REVIEW

THE APPLE

This reissue of a 1959 title misses an opportunity to improve upon the translated text’s lackluster story but will acquaint contemporary readers with the Dutch Bruna’s modernist style.

Although smiling broadly on the cover art, the eponymous apple is sad, as it cannot walk like the beetle that crawls on its leaf and cannot see the world around it from its low vantage point. A compassionate weather-vane rooster offers to help at night. The text says that “once the sky had turned quite black,” the rooster swoops down to carry the apple up to the sky, but the background remains blue at this point, and it’s rather odd that the apple can now see a butterfly, a house and then inside the house to a plate of grapes and a table setting if the night is indeed “quite black.” Of course, apples can’t cry or talk, and weather-vane roosters can’t fly about as tour guides, either, so maybe this is just a case for artistic license and the suspension of disbelief. The cheery palette and simple forms characteristic of Bruna’s work in his better-known titles about Miffy the bunny are inviting, and the circular structure of the tale, returning the apple to its place on the ground, is satisfying.

An odd little story, but a fresh example of Bruna’s work for a contemporary audience. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84976-214-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

From the Les Petit Fairytales series

The flaxen-haired tyke makes her infamous visit to the bears’ house in this simplified adaptation.

The classic story is told with minimal text, one or two words per double-page spread. Goldilocks uses speech bubbles to describe the porridge, chairs and beds (“Too hot. / Too cold. / Just right”). The bears look bemused when they find the girl snoozing in Baby Bear’s bed, and they offer an amicable and winsome goodbye when she dashes off. The richly colored cartoons, likely created with the aid of a computer, present friendly-looking characters with oversize heads. The companion release is a stripped-down version of “Little Red Riding Hood” following the same format and style, right down to the sparkly heroine’s outfit and glittery letters employed on the cover. Youngsters unfamiliar with the story may need adult help to understand that the friendly, cross-dressing wolf has actually swallowed Grandma, since all the readers see is a “Woodsman” examining the wolf’s teeth and then sending the predator away in shame.

Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9912-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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