A beautifully written episode with a strong conservation message.

LITTLE LOST TIGER

In lyrical free verse, nature-writer London gives readers a tiny peek into the lives of a Siberian tiger cub and his mother.

“A river in its icy bed / mumbles in its sleep. / The wooded hills and ridges / sparkle with snow. / Shaggy and frost-tipped, / the tigress and her cub / slip like shadows into a forest / of bone-white birches.” As Spirin’s artwork gets darker and takes on the blue-gray of night, the Striped One hides little Amba under a fallen tree so she can hunt the sika deer in the clearing. But as she is crouched to pounce, the forest erupts into flames, and all the animals flee. All night the mother searches for and calls her cub, but his cry can only be heard with the calming of the wind and fire. Spirin’s watercolor, pastel and gouache artwork neatly complements the images painted in London’s text. Only twice does he anthropomorphize the expressions on the tigers’ faces. The forest fire, though obviously a threat to the forest dwellers, is not vividly portrayed, so readers are unlikely to be to frightened. An author’s note provides more information about endangered Siberian tigers, including the threats to their survival.

A beautifully written episode with a strong conservation message. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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