Forget Helen Reddy. Nadine is a poster cow for self-mortification. (Picture book. 3-5)

I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO!

Esbaum presents a wobbly story about a cow of wobbly confidence (though no shortness of bluster).

In this rhymed production, Nadine and her bovine buddies, Starla and Annette, live on a farm at the edge of the woods. Nadine brags to them that she fears nothing, not even the woods. Full of wind and sure her friends will decline, Nadine suggests a forest excursion—only to find them willing: “Well, moooove it, Nadine,” Starla tells her. Tentatively, Nadine takes a step, then another, and soon enough they are tootling about in the woods having a good time. The sun starts setting; Starla and Annette grow uneasy. Nadine has become comfortable in her Supercow mantle, choosing to dawdle in a cave that has caught her eye. When she emerges, the others have gone, night is on her, and so are the heebie-jeebies. When her tail tickles her rump, off she goes, driven by stark terror over a cliff. She falls into a handy pond, where her friends handily are wandering around lost. A heroine once more, Nadine now gives night tours of the woods. Readers will feel that something isn’t right here, and it’s not just Gordon’s distractingly overbusy photo-collage artwork. It’s why Nadine would eagerly now lead night walks even as the text expressly tells them she’s still afraid of the woods.

Forget Helen Reddy. Nadine is a poster cow for self-mortification. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3524-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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