An accessible and imaginative title for emergent readers just learning to decode and understand the written word.

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From the I Like To Read series

One gusty fall morning, a surprise blows through an open window into the bedroom of two sleeping children, both with dark hair and light-brown skin. It’s a pinwheel!

“Look,” says the smaller child, grasping the toy, and thus begins a windswept adventure. The child floats out the window with a jubilant expression that makes it clear that this is not a scary occurrence but a delightful one. Floating along, topsy-turvy on the turbulent air current, the child encounters several farm animals also caught up in the squall. The simple sentence structure—“I see a…”—repeats for four spreads naming several common animals, which also seem surprised but not frightened to have temporarily lost their contact with the ground. This predicament resolves when they are depicted returning to their barn as the child narrates, “They go home.” On the next spread, the child too returns home from this unexpected excursion. The whimsical digital illustrations are full of movement. Cepeda uses plenty of white space and creative perspectives to express the fantastic squall that keeps the child soaring above roofs and treetops. The sparse text (just 27 one-syllable words), repetition, and expressive illustration make this an appropriate choice for children beginning to read independently.

An accessible and imaginative title for emergent readers just learning to decode and understand the written word. (Early reader. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3655-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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