A quiet, thoughtful narrative for all readers who like to wonder.

FRIEND OR FOE?

A lonely mouse is determined to find out if the neighboring cat might be a new friend.

A little gray mouse lives in a small house, and in the palace next door lives a white cat. Every evening, the two neighbors watch each other—the mouse from his roof, the cat from her high window. When the mouse discovers a hole in the palace wall, he decides to see if the hours spent in mutual contemplation mean that he and the cat are friends. As the mouse makes his way up, he becomes nervous: “What if he was wrong? If he was, the cat would tear him to pieces.” Curiosity outweighs fear, however, and the mouse creeps up to the cat in her window, finally asking, “are you friend or foe?” In response, the cat, startled by the mouse’s sudden appearance, leaps in surprise and tumbles spectacularly out of the window to land safely (as cats do) just outside the mouse’s house—and having unexpectedly switched places, the two neighbors take up their nightly watch again. Tolstikova’s muted palette, neutrals disrupted only by the bright red palace wall, is well-suited to Sobol’s measured prose, which denies readers a satisfying conclusion in favor of allowing them to decide for themselves if cat and mouse are indeed friends.

A quiet, thoughtful narrative for all readers who like to wonder. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-407-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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