Not the most smoothly transitioned of Froggy fare, but endearing nevertheless.

FROGGY'S WORST PLAYDATE

Fans expect a flop flop flop in every Froggy adventure, but in this latest work, Froggy’s emotions flip-flop more than his webbed feet ever do.

Froggy wakes up, excited to start the weekend by going outside to play. But none of his friends are home. Luckily, his mom has a solution: She has set up a play date with Frogilina. Froggy’s reaction? “I’M NOT GOING!” Froggy slams the door—“BLAM!”—wails on his saxophone (“SQUAAAAAAWK”) and throws a ball against the wall (“thump thump thump”) to release some anger. But then he realizes that he does want to see the movie, even if Frogilina has to come along. He snaps on his favorite bowtie, slaps on some of Dad’s aftershave (Froggy’s true feelings come out) and heads to the theater. Froggy, of course, can’t sit still for an entire movie, and somehow Frogilina manages yet again to give him a great big smooch on the cheek. EEEWWW. London deals with a classic young-child dilemma—wrestling with the embarrassment of having a crush—with sympathetic humor. A post-movie visit to an ice-cream stand feels more tacked on to provide additional sound-effect opportunities than derived organically from the story, alas.

Not the most smoothly transitioned of Froggy fare, but endearing nevertheless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-670-01427-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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