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A cautionary tale on a minor note.

There are lots of noises and many other animals that make Felix the tree frog worry.

Young readers could start to fear for his safety, but the book’s narrator constantly works to reassure and engage them. “Plip! Plop! Splash! What’s that noise? Felix looks worried, doesn’t he? Let’s turn the page and show him there’s nothing to be scared of.” It turns out that a “friendly turtle” has made the noise. Other animals, such as a “shiny beetle,” “playful monkeys,” and a “slithery snake,” cross the little frog’s path, and there are other actions for readers to take: “Clap your hands and shout, ‘Shoo, slithery snake’ ”; counting the branches of a tall tree (the book must be turned 90 degrees to view it) that Felix climbs to get away from a “busy woodpecker.” When something else comes up that tall tree, the narrator exhorts readers to say “Leap, frog!” But Felix is a little more aware of his own environment than readers are, and all’s well. The vibrant, full-bleed illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle’s collaged flora and fauna. While the text reads a little bumpily, it is engaging and the pictures should work well with a group. Some children may want to know if any of the other animals really could be harmful to the little tree frog. This book does not provide the answers.

A cautionary tale on a minor note. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1205-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Too many bugs, figuratively.

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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