THE ROAR

A tender reminder that when even a hug won’t help, friends are always there.

Will anything get Tortoise unstuck?

In a quest to climb a rock, Tortoise has gotten stuck upside down. Now Tortoise is quite upset. Rabbit suggests digging a hole (“That’s what I do when I’m upset”). Tortoise is too unhappy to dig. Fox brings a smelly boot, but Tortoise is too sad and angry for stinky footwear. Even Hedgehog’s offer of a hug won’t help…in fact, it makes Tortoise roar! Owl suggests Hedgehog try to understand how Tortoise feels. After replicating Tortoise’s fall and flip, Hedgehog does. Then, Hedgehog listens while Tortoise talks, and after that, they are quiet together, both on their backs watching clouds until…Hedgehog honks, and that makes Tortoise laugh. Hedgehog helps Tortoise up, and Tortoise says, “If I ever get stuck again… // …then I hope I get stuck with you!” In their fourth outing, Hedgehog and friends show that even the hugs they are famous for can’t solve every problem. McLaughlin and Dunbar have, once again, with simple text and soft watercolors depicting pudgy woodland creatures, effectively explained a complex topic. Useful, instructive, not the least bit didactic, this is a strong conversation starter but also a sweet picture book about two good friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A tender reminder that when even a hug won’t help, friends are always there. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-571-37434-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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