An outing to which children (like Peter’s cousin Benjamin Bunny) will listen with “particular attention,” done up in a...

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THE FURTHER TALE OF PETER RABBIT

Showing his age not a whit, nor having lost his appetite, Peter Rabbit eats his way into a pair of (metaphorical) pickles in this droll comeback.

Idly wishing for a change of scenery, Peter falls asleep in the McGregors’ picnic basket—after polishing off a sandwich that’s as big as he is—and wakes up in the far-off Scottish Highlands. Thompson (who also often wakes up in Scotland) doesn’t leave him at loose ends for long, though. Rescued by kilted cousin Finlay McBurney, he spends a cozy night atop a sack of “sheepswool and heather.” The next day he attends a rabbit Highland games (“very boring”) before enjoying a further gustatory encounter with an “unusually large RADISH” hidden behind a “Keep Out” sign. At last he makes his way back home with a “fat little haggis for his mother.” Looking something like a fat little haggis himself and still clad in his customary torn blue jacket, Peter draws the eye in each of Taylor’s verdant, loosely brushed watercolors. Most of the action plays out in the text, but, rendered in Beatrix Potter’s general style with a paler palette and less dramatic tension, the pictures nonetheless create pretty, idyllic tableaus of wildflowers, tartans and dappled greenery.

An outing to which children (like Peter’s cousin Benjamin Bunny) will listen with “particular attention,” done up in a large, decidedly un-Potter-like trim size that’s suitable for sharing in a lap or with a group. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-72326-710-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Warne

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Pretty but forgettable.

NATALIE PORTMAN'S FABLES

A trio of tales to educate and entertain.

Updated versions of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Three Little Pigs,” and “Country Mouse and City Mouse” guide readers through three classic tales. The stories are updated with amusing modern twists, such as how one little piggie uses the leftover chopsticks from a plethora of takeout orders to build a house of sticks, and kid-friendly details include a flatulent hare. Related in verse (mostly rhyming couplets with the occasional inexplicable variation), the stories suffer from labored syntax and shoehorned rhymes: “Planning and thinking out how to build cleanly / Makes your house sturdy / And keeps our Earth looking greenly.” The internal logic of some of the tales may baffle discerning readers; in “Country Mouse and City Mouse,” for instance, a rhinoceros is terrified by a house cat, and a rattlesnake attends a mouse’s dinner party as an invited guest. The cheery, colorful illustrations populated by smiling anthropomorphic animals do a lot of heavy lifting, and the balance of white space keeps the nostalgia-tinged compositions looking fresh and crisp. The art may not be enough to make this a family favorite, however. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.)

Pretty but forgettable.  (Picture book/folktales. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-24686-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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