Another enthusiastic embrace of silliness from Antarctica.


From the Tacky the Penguin series

It takes a lot of planning to put together the perfect penguin party. And even then...

The Nice Icy Land is “crackling with busy-ness.” Everyone is deep into preparations for Tacky’s Birdday Party. This includes baking, practicing the special song and making a whole slew of cards for their decidedly odd friend. Tacky wakes up the next morning and, in a purple scarf and shirt decorated with yellow flowers, immediately starts doing the Flapwaddle Dance, which he has just invented. A huge “Surprise!!” interrupts him. The party throwers give Tacky a beautiful dinner jacket; he asks whether he should eat it now. All his friends are dumbstruck, and Tacky’s characteristically bizarre behavior further astounds them. The cake eventually lands on Tacky’s head, where everybody eats from it like a polenta. How imperfect can a party get? Only the big finale remains: It’s Twinklewebs the Dance Queen in all her pink glory. So enthusiastic is she that she overdoes it and hurts her web feet. Tacky comes unexpectedly to the rescue, teaching her and the whole party his Flapwaddle Dance. Now that’s a great party! Lester’s celebration of differences continues to make its point. Both her text and Munsinger’s illustrations are sunny and impish.

Another enthusiastic embrace of silliness from Antarctica. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-91228-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.


From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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