A celebration of the heights of imagination as the eponymous spring hare lives up (and up and up) to its name.

READ REVIEW

SPRING HARE

A bright-eyed, tawny hare joins a red-haired, fair-skinned child on a high-flying adventure in Yelchin's first wordless picture book.

A little hare wanders into the company of a new human friend—add a trampoline, and the fun begins. Playful bounces soon send the young human soaring into the sky, and after a moment's hesitation, the hare sets off to follow. Sailing over a lush, green landscape along with a flock of geese and a bevy of hot air balloons, the hare follows close behind its freckled friend, who waves from airplane seats and the basket of a balloon as the hare flies through rain, clouds, and a rainbow. Floating steadily upward all the while, the pair finally reconnect among the stars—warm, earnest smiles plastered to their faces—and with the help of an obliging falling star, hare and human alike tumble back down to their trampoline and perhaps a new adventure. Awash in bright, springtime hues, Yelchin's illustrations (collages made with painted pieces of cut paper) provide both dynamic backdrop and rich detail in this uplifting visual narrative. Careful readers will notice the similarity between illustrations at the beginning and end that cheerfully blur the distinction between real and pretend, allowing readers to decide for themselves.

A celebration of the heights of imagination as the eponymous spring hare lives up (and up and up) to its name. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-392-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A sweet cetacean story.

THE HEART OF A WHALE

The flora and fauna of the ocean respond to a lonely whale’s beautiful music by helping him find another whale.

“Whale’s song was so beautiful it could reach the farthest of faraways.” Over a double-page spread, a simply drawn white whale—detailed with a large eye, a small mouth and fins, and a small lavender heart—swims past a variety of pastel-hued sea denizens. The lyrical text is set in type that emulates hand-lettering. Watercolors are the appropriate choice for a tale that occurs in a sea full of creatures—with an occasional glimpse of land and sky as well as a cheerfully colored sailboat and lighthouse. Collage, pencil sketching, and washes produce a dreamlike effect that also feels sweetly humorous. A double-page spread of sea horses lounging atop spirited jellyfish is especially whimsical. Musical terms are cleverly used to describe the singing whale’s positive effects on others (“a cheerful symphony for a sad urchin”). After several pages of poetic lines about the talented singer, readers learn that his heart feels “empty.” The ocean carries his sighing wish across miles of lovingly rendered sea habitats until the solo becomes a duet. Although the flap copy speaks of friendship, even the youngest of readers will sense that this is a whale of a romance. Beneath its warmth is a poignant reminder of the loss to all if whale songs become history.

A sweet cetacean story. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984-83627-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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