With yet another seamless marriage of verse and image, readers will hope Frost and Lieder’s creative union continues as long...

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HELLO, I'M HERE!

Parents and offspring unite in this arresting portrait of a crane family.

The fifth collaboration between Frost and Lieder (Wake Up!, 2017, etc.), more than any of their prior ventures showcasing tiny creatures from the animal and insect world, here focuses on the tender familial relations of one species: the sandhill crane. As the author’s note highlights and Lieder’s signature photographs well illustrate, with an adult wingspan nearing 6 feet, this large marsh dweller is renowned among shorebirds for its distinctive vermilion-crested head, blazing saffron eyes, and tendency to mate for life. In clever counterpoint to Lieder’s stunning close-ups, Frost’s wee verse protagonist starts telling its tale while still in the egg, hearing its parents as it finally pecks through and its “shell falls away,” revealing a wide-eyed tawny chick with spindly legs, downy fuzz, and diminutive, pointy beak. Lieder’s silhouettes capture the chick’s dogged determination to make its presence known as well as its tentative first movements: “Could I stand up / straight and tall? / Will my legs hold me? / What if I fall?” Children will easily relate to Frost’s depiction of the chick’s daring inquisitiveness while simultaneously finding comfort in the affirming theme of constant parental guidance and caring.

With yet another seamless marriage of verse and image, readers will hope Frost and Lieder’s creative union continues as long as that of their happily wed sandhill subjects. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9858-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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