HUNGRY BIRD

Bird’s animal friends are patient, generous, and seemingly used to his endless complaints from previous outings in Grumpy Bird, (2007) and Boo Hoo Bird (2010).

Now, as the group sets out on a hike, Bird’s tummy is rumbling, and everyone is made acutely aware of it. Of course Bird has not brought any snacks, hoping to share in the others’ bounty. But Bird turns down all their offerings. Fox’s berries are not favorites, the idea of eating Beaver’s crunchy sticks is “crazy,” Sheep’s grass is gross, Raccoon’s sandwich is yucky, and Rabbit’s carrots are just too orange to be palatable. Bird angrily scolds his friends for not packing anything he likes and, collapsing in a heap, announces that he must eat immediately. Finally, in desperation, he tries their snacks and finds them not quite as horrible as he thought. When a lovely worm is spotted, he is already quite sated, instead demanding, “Who brought me a drink?” Bird is over-the-top, self-absorbed, melodramatic, and hilarious. Tankard’s digital media–and-ink illustrations depict a menagerie of brightly colored animals outlined in heavy black and resembling the cuddliest of toys. They cavort in equally bright surroundings with just a bit of a subtle background, which turns scarlet the hungrier and angrier Bird gets. Their expressions of disbelief at Bird’s final demands are priceless.

A delightful romp. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-86417-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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