GENTLY BENTLEY

Bentley may well be one of the cutest little cubs ever drawn. His chocolate-hued fur looks like touchable velvet. But he’s all paws and a bit clumsy. Bentley can’t even go lightly with his favorite squishy caterpillar. After one last mauling, the caterpillar finally explodes into little bits. Bentley’s pals Squeaky, a mouse, and Bun, a rabbit, offer up advice and assistance. “Gently Bentley,” they caution as a toy car falls apart and again when Bentley becomes tangled in a skipping rope. At last he finds an outlet for his exuberance and a way to have fun with a toy that can withstand his rough and tumble ways. Some might be warned that when things don’t go his way, “Blow it!” is Bentley’s oft repeated childish expletive. Melling’s lively illustrations are bursting with color and action. This funny read is a good little lesson about appropriate behavior with certain objects as well as the nice reminder that innovation is the key to rich and harmonious play. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-340-87561-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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