Imaginative—but lacking heart.

Bob—a cartoon character with a human body and a large, pink face that seems to merge a rabbit, a pig, and a badger—is repeatedly distracted from buying a wrench to fix his tricycle.

When a short bout of searching turns up no wrench, Bob goes to “Megamart, the ultra-giant, supersized megastore where you can find ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.” There, Mr. Mart, a blue-faced, mustachioed figure in a cowboy hat, persuades Bob to buy an absurd contraption called a “fridge-hat” instead. When Bob shows off his purchase to friends Pedro and Lucien, they ridicule him. A third friend, Paulette—whose pink tail pokes out from a green dress—reminds Bob about his mission to buy a wrench. (Like Bob, his friends are brightly colored anthropomorphic creatures.) Twice more, Bob goes wrench shopping, and twice more, similar episodes ensue, as gullible Bob buys musical pajamas and then a screaming machine. Each time he is confronted with his mistake, Bob stuffs his new purchase into his closet. The punchline wraps up a simple, silly tale that warns against the dangers of sales persuasion and conspicuous consumption. The writing is made for reading aloud with different voices, and the silliness and repetition will keep the youngest viewers entertained. Unfortunately, each time Pedro, Lucien, and Paulette react to Bob’s foolish behavior, the creatures’ reactions are both unkind and gender-stereotyped, the two male-presenting characters jeering and the female-presenting one demonstrating practicality. The illustrations are colorful and comical, in an offbeat palette.

Imaginative—but lacking heart. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2449-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020



Animated and educational.

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021


Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Close Quickview