Surprisingly charming and with delightful illustrations.

READ REVIEW

MANNY LOSES HIS FANGS

An anthropomorphic vampire bat learns how to use his scary fangs to help his friends rather than frighten them in this Italian import.

Manny the vampire bat wants to be the scariest vampire bat in the world. But after his “baby fangs” fall out, Manny fears “his scaring days [are] over.” The silver lining to this is that he is able to make friends with other animals now that he’s not so scary anymore. He enjoys having friends so much that, in a reversal, when his adult fangs grow in, he fears losing his new companions. But instead, his scary skills come in handy, and he intimidates some taunting bullies. Ferri’s beautifully soft illustrations are a smart contrast to the intensity of a vampire bat, giving Manny just enough ferocity without making him truly terrifying to young readers. The icy blue-gray tones of the cave, along with the rich, warm skies and fields, make even the scenery a character. Despite its animal protagonist, this story is one to which many readers can relate, with its theme of fitting in and finding friends. Manny is quite the likable antihero. The story itself has just the right beat, not dwelling too long or moving too quickly. There is some wonderfully rich vocabulary for the intended audience, too: words such as “trotters,” “sulked,” and “admiration.” The book wraps up nicely with a subtle message of being oneself.

Surprisingly charming and with delightful illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-988-8341-83-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers.

LOLA GOES TO SCHOOL

From the Lola & Leo series

After years of everyday joys with McQuinn and Beardshaw’s Lola, readers now watch her start school.

It “will be a bit like story time at the library, but Lola will stay by herself.” The little black girl “knows what to expect” because she’s visited the school with her mom. She is prepared with gifts from loved ones—“fun pencils” from Nana, a water bottle from Ty. The night before her “big day,” Lola lays out her outfit. In the morning, she tucks her stuffed kitty, Dinah, in her bag and poses for a snapshot. In the classroom, Miss Suzan, a white woman, shows her where to put her things. Lola spends time reading with her friend Julia, who has pale skin and black hair, and then they play dress-up. Her mom sits for a while before saying goodbye. After snack time and more play, there is circle time. Of course, “Lola knows the song and all the motions.” Picking Lola up at the end of the day, Mommy hugs her daughter. Beardshaw’s soft, slightly smudgy illustrations allow young readers to focus on one cozy moment at a time. Even at this milestone, Lola still appears quite tiny, and the text is no more complex than in previous books, making this a seamless transition from Lola’s younger days to her new life in school.

Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-938-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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