A worthy tale, if not very well thought out nor the comic gold of Eric Rohmann’s similar, Caldecott-winning My Friend...

THE RED APPLE

How will hungry Rabbit reach the apple hanging so far out of reach? With help from friends, of course!

Shuffling miserably through a barren, wintry landscape speckled with falling snow, Rabbit spots the bright red apple hanging from a leafless branch in truly mouthwatering splendor. His own efforts to reach it proving vain, off he goes to enlist aid from Mouse, then from an ill but amicable Fox. Neither alone nor stacked atop one another can they reach high enough until Bear joins them. Success at last, though Fox’s ill-timed sneeze causes all to tumble into the snow. Oral pays more attention to his theme than to finicky details: the animals divvy up the apple (how?) and eat their portions for dinner (a rather paltry meal, except maybe for Mouse, and a surprising choice for Fox, considering that two of his three companions are prey). They then repair to Bear’s den and fall together “into a deep, happy sleep”—right next to the apple’s intact, neatly shaved core. Analytical young readers will have questions about the internal logic here and will also note that as often as not in the illustrations the animals walk on their hind legs. No matter: cooperation toward a goal is always worth a shoutout, and sharing the resulting prize seems only fair.

A worthy tale, if not very well thought out nor the comic gold of Eric Rohmann’s similar, Caldecott-winning My Friend Rabbit. (2002). (Picture book. 6-8) . (2002)(Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-988-8240-00-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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