A curious little book that treats the imagination as a yo-yo, expertly played by Testa. An omniscient narrator addresses a boy directly: “Why are you bored? Is there nothing to do? What are you thinking?” The boy troops upstairs into the attic, rummages about, and then heads to the kitchen to gather up a few more items. His moves are questioned by the narrator, for whom understanding comes when the boy seats himself at a table and begins to draw an elaborate still life that he has arranged. The text is minimal, offering few cues as to what is afoot. It is the artwork, a burnished delight, that maintains the momentum, establishing characters and settings and pretty much leading readers around by the nose. Amid the flood of imagery, certain pieces are singled out to share the great expanses of white that serve as a field for the text; they seem random at first, though their continuing presence increases their importance in the story. All suggestions culminate in the last page, where the mystery lifts, inevitably, and the enormously appealing adventure has just begun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1998

ISBN: 0-86264-799-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Collins & Brown/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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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.


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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Readers will be charmed as Harold draws himself in and out of trouble and finally home to bed in this subtle blend of...


Harold takes a walk in the moonlight down the path of imagination and although this time the bunnies hop and the winds blow, nothing of the dreamy simplicity of the journey is lost.

Elegantly adapted by Trilogy Studios to the iPad and featuring the same minimalist lines of Johnson's 1955 original, this app allows children to join in as Harold wields his purple crayon to create his gently perilous adventure. Along the way, the many hidden interactions allow readers to animate the scenes, shaking apples from the tree and making the guard dragon catch them in his mouth. Kids can fill the moonlit sky with stars and zoom in on hatchling birds in the mountains; they can cause a swirling wind to fill the sails of Harold's boat and help him sample all nine flavors of pie. All the while, it maintains the flavor of a simple line-drawn story. When touched, most objects and characters are identified both verbally and in text to add an extra level of learning for early readers. Options include Read to Me, in which each word appears as it is spoken by the narrator; Touch Tale, a fully interactive version prefaced with a clear tutorial; and Read to Myself. All modes are accompanied by tinkly music.

Readers will be charmed as Harold draws himself in and out of trouble and finally home to bed in this subtle blend of animation and story. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 30, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Trill Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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