THE LITTLE RED HEN

A DELICIOUSLY FUNNY FLAP BOOK

One feckless, lazy citizen of the farmyard after another is revealed in this well-crafted, amusing novelty. Yes, this is the same tale of the Little Red Hen who tries to enlist help in sowing, harvesting, and milling the corn to bake her bread. No one is interested; mostly hidden behind flaps—though exposed appendages give them away to both the LRH and the reader—are the lazybones: a turkey cleaning his nails, a cat lolling in the sun, a duck in the muck. Here, rather than blandly getting on with her drudgery, the LRH has a few choice words with her idle mates: “Hello Catty. You’ll help me water the corn, won’t you?” “Eh? Not me Henny, I’m far too busy!” “Busy doing what?” These zingers keep the traditional LRH’s plodding sanctimony at bay, while the lush, character-filled art vivifies the timeworn tale. If self-righteous versions of this story find you hoping the hen chokes on her bread, Allen’s will have you hoping it’s delectable. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-552-54812-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2003

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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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GOSSIE

A sweet and silly pair of tales about an eccentric gosling and her newfound friend. In Gossie, Dunrea (Bear Noel, 2000, etc.) describes the fashionable fowl’s favorite pastime: strutting about in her snazzy red rainboots. Yet, when her boots mysteriously disappear one day, Gossie sets out to locate them—only to discover a kindred spirit in fellow gosling Gertie. Despite her adoration of her footwear, Gossie amends her perception of high fashion, determining that it’s more fun to share accessories with a friend than to be perfectly attired but all alone. Gossie & Gertie chronicles the loving relationship of the best pals. Clad in bright red and blue boots, respectively, Gossie and Gertie gallivant about in tandem: wherever Gossie wanders, Gertie is sure to follow. However, when Gertie ventures out on her own, Gossie learns the benefits of letting her friend occasionally take the lead. Dunrea’s tales are simply wrought and rendered, with the ink and watercolor illustrations capturing the quaint, whimsical charm of the stories. Situated against stark white backgrounds, the bright-hued vignettes communicate an abundance of expression in a few deft strokes. The potent combination of toddler-appealing story lines and the charismatic charm of the illustrations assure that these smartly clad geese will be marching straight into the hearts of readers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-17674-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

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