Simply fun, ripe for repeat reads.

An action-focused sled ride.

A cheerful character with tan skin and a striped cap totters over the crest of a bare snowy mountain on a yellow toboggan. The text gets right to the point, cheering, “Go, sled! Go!” The protagonist stares in dismay, shouting, “Oh, bunny! No!” as the sled barrels toward the startled critter. The sled doesn’t slow, and the following page shows the bunny riding along, too. With slight variations, this encounter repeats when the sled comes across a snowman, a moose, penguins, and the tan-skinned, pink-haired Mrs. Baker, whose cakes wind up everywhere when she ends up onboard. As the sled races along, picking up passengers, the dialogue, in speech bubbles, includes apologies and checks on well-being, perfect for starting conversations about emotions and helping friends. The chunky black text gloriously becomes art, wrapping around in circles for the sled’s inevitable roller-coaster loop. Basic action words like jump and stop will make for interactive read-aloud moments. Blocky graphic illustrations are grounded in paper-white snow and blue tones throughout. The book contains many visual and narrative similarities to Kim Norman’s Ten on the Sled (2010), illustrated by Liza Woodruff, and other stories where each spread slip-slides into the next. But Yang’s tale is an earnest, pleasant romp, and there is room on the shelf for this one, too. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Simply fun, ripe for repeat reads. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40479-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022


It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016


Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own 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. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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