Eye-catching fun.

READ REVIEW

THE ARTIST WHO PAINTED A BLUE HORSE

This bright new entry by an old pro should find a place on the long shelf of picture books about animals and colors. 

A narrator-artist appears at the beginning and end, confidently wielding a brush. Each spread in between showcases a single large, arresting animal portrait. The child-friendly theme features fanciful coloring: blue horse, pink rabbit, purple fox. Although the narrator claims specifically to “paint” each one, the illustrations are actually made from painted tissue-paper collage, which allows for stylized sharp edges and a lively choppiness. To emphasize the bold bushiness of the green lion’s mane and the thick, rugged armor on the dark-red crocodile, Carle pulls a tool through wet paint, leaving thick patterned lines. The textured, yellow-and-orange cow’s body reveals traces of darkness showing through from the night-sky background of black and green-blue. Fans of animals, color recognition or shouting out what’s unusual will laugh at each creature’s delightfully preposterous color. An author’s note pays homage to Franz Marc, a German painter born in 1880, and reproduces two pieces: Blue Horse I and Yellow Cow. The target audience here will find the concept of a tribute to a fine artist too abstract, but Marc’s colorful pieces themselves might well hold interest, with adult encouragement. 

Eye-catching fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25713-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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.

THE 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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