A lovely reminder that laughter is most valuable when shared.

READ REVIEW

WILL GIRAFFE LAUGH?

The author/illustrator of Will Ladybug Hug? and Will Bear Share? (both 2018) provides another valuable life lesson in this cleanly illustrated, simple story.

The animal and insect cast of Leung’s earlier works returns with an entertaining reminder not to take oneself too seriously. The story is simple but rich. When Giraffe wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, his friends set out to cheer him up. Can they get a chuckle or a smile out of their stubborn, grumpy friend? In successive double-page spreads, the question is posed again and again: “Will Giraffe laugh with Bear?”; “…with Crocodile?”; “…with Sheep?”; “…with Frog?”; “…with Ladybug?” Juggling, a puppet show, balloon animals, goofy tongue tricks, and flowers all backfire with spectacularly silly results that will have little ones cracking up even as Giraffe gets more and more dour. When Giraffe loses his cool and yells at his friends, though, he realizes he’s gone too far. A desperate gambit to make his friends laugh goes hilariously awry, and a muddier but wiser Giraffe learns the value of laughing at himself. Despite the stylish economy of the artwork, each character is improbably expressive. The book concludes by asking toddlers, “How do you cheer up your friends?”

A lovely reminder that laughter is most valuable when shared. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-21561-8

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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