OZZY THE OSTRICH

An amusing trifle for those that like animal stories.

Ozzy is about to be a mother when lions arrive for an attack!

This Spanish import starts as a quiet, repetitive counting book, as first one, then two, then “three ostriches found three flowers.” The counting motif continues as one, then two, then “three lions saw three ostriches, licked their lips and their whiskers and claws, and thought: YUM! YUM! YUM!” But then there is a break in the pattern. Ozzy, the first ostrich, lays her egg, spies the predatory lions, and angrily yells: “Nah-nana-naa-nah…Not you, nor you, nor you can get this egg!” There is an anxious moment when the lions advance toward the three large birds, but at Ozzy’s “whistle” command, “the big birds buried their heads in the sand.” At Ozzy’s second signal, their heads come up, and they shout: “BOO!” The effect of this action is quite bizarre; the lions are so frightened that one “turned white,” the second “lost all of his fur,” and the last lion’s “teeth fell out.” There are more physical transformations in store, and the lions actually become friends with the ostriches, until three new lions appear. Who can save the friends from these new enemies? Humorous paintings, full of action and set in an imaginary African savanna, accompany a silly but rhythmic text that sometimes sounds like a folk tale. It is also available in Spanish as El Avestruz Mariluz.

An amusing trifle for those that like animal stories. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945415-9-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NubeOcho

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

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. 1, 2021

BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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