Lively interactive fun.

READ REVIEW

WILL YOU HELP DOUG FIND HIS DOG?

A small boy loses his dog—and readers help him find it.

Doug, a black-haired Asian child, sits forlornly on a park bench, an empty leash hanging limply from his hands. A few dogs frolic nearby; one wallows in mud. The narrator sympathizes, then invites readers to help Doug out and poses the first of several questions, in boldfaced type: “What does your dog look like, Doug?” This evokes the answer “scruffy,” rendered in fuzzy, dark type. On subsequent pages, questions to Doug, his responses, and successive instructions to readers are all boldfaced. All these highlight new vocabulary and act as identifiers so children may distinguish from an array of depicted dogs, as in the directive to “Call ‘Here Scruff!’ to all the scruffy dogs.” Will children take this bait? Of course, and on the following spread, the scruffy dogs come running. And so it proceeds. The narrator asks questions, and Doug responds—but only in speech balloons, offstage. After the opening spreads, the story isn’t so much about Doug as about children’s following irresistible instructions—patting, tickling, kissing dogs!—while exercising visual acuity and honing vocabulary and sentence-meaning skills. A final instruction delivers a surprise, a joyous reunion, and the narrator’s gratitude. An empathic, easy-to-understand situation and sturdy pages make this a good choice for the very young, and the rollicking watercolor, pencil, and digital-media illustrations will provide plenty of entertainment at sharing time.

Lively interactive fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78285-320-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary.

MY FIRST BUSY BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

The latest addition to the World of Eric Carle is proof that the Wilder Award–winning picture-book creator knows what appeals to children.

This board book is both developmentally appropriate and aesthetically pleasing—perfect for toddlers. In a sturdy, oversize (10 1/2 inches square) format, Carle recycles iconic images from his vast canon to introduce shapes, colors, numbers, animals, and sounds. The flower on the cover is almost (but not quite) identical to the flower that grows from The Tiny Seed (1970). Seeing the animals throughout the pages is like recognizing old friends. But Carle and the book’s designer, Hannah Frece, put these familiar images to fresh uses to create a logical, accessible, and harmonious concept book. Although billed as a “busy book,” it is not hyperactive, using just five or six images per spread. From the mirror that lights up the sun on the cover to the touch-and-feel inserts on the page about animals to the single flap that hides a mouse from a cat, the tactile elements have been chosen with intention instead of just as gimmicks. On other pages, foils and textures are subtle, with many barely raised images that invite tracing.

A satisfying package that will indeed keep toddlers busy—exemplary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5791-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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