Sure to support little ones’ reading habits.


Can a creature of habit change his ways?

The eponymous creature, who lives a solitary life on the island of Habit, is a big, unspecified, anthropomorphic being. With his pink nose, buck teeth, and two feathery ears, he looks more like a white rabbit than an old dog, but he is decidedly averse to learning new tricks. Opening pages establish how he happily sticks to a very strict daily regimen of foods (three pineapples and two bananas, twice a day) and activities (greeting fish, trees, rocks, and a crab, and collecting shells). Then a new, small creature arrives by boat and shakes things up a bit. At first, the small creature, who looks like a blue fuzzball with pipestem limbs and green spectacles, tries out the creature of Habit’s routine, but by the second day, he is eating new foods, exploring new places, and spontaneously pursuing his heart’s content. The big creature is overwhelmed by the small one’s antics, and a climactic spread shows him in a close-up, waving his short arms in the air with text that exclaims, “IT WAS ABSOLUTE MADNESS!” After this comical outburst, the big creature starts to follow the small one around and is both charmed and persuaded to try a few new things himself. The rewards for this flexibility are manifold, with companionship being the most important. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to support little ones’ reading habits. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17305-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet