A pleaser for younger lovers of animals and visual puzzles alike.

READ REVIEW

DEEP IN THE FOREST

In a series of forest scenes, dozens of animals hiding within foliage, in treetops, underwater, and belowground challenge sharp-eyed viewers to pick them out.

Some are easier to find than others: among the creatures that flit in and out of view in the course of a day, a panda, for instance, and the hyena (this is not a real forest but a sort of tropical composite) stand out in several scenes. Also, along with direct hints (“watch out for that mosquito!”), the accompanying comments feature questions like “But where is the wood louse?” that prompt young explorers to look under the one large, shaped flap on each spread. The underside of the flap provides further prompts: “See the centipedes running? The scarab and tarantula in their holes?” Brunellière depicts both flora and fauna using bright colors, flattened perspectives, and similar lines and shapes to make spotting the animals a decent challenge. They are all easily recognizable, though, and overall create a sort of community—particularly toward the end, as they uniformly drowse off at sunset and become dimly visible shapes with glowing eyes in the moonlit close. Though this oversized book consists of but 14 board pages, this is not a book for infants, but patient toddler- or preschooler-and-adult pairs should find plenty to enjoy.

A pleaser for younger lovers of animals and visual puzzles alike. (visual index) (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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