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This week’s worth of yucky, rhyming fun (and giggles) is a pleaser.

Grandma’s black cat collects some dreadful stuff.

The sibling protagonists say they like to stay with their grandmother…but her cat drags all things gross and frightful through the flap each night of the week. On Monday, there are bugs crawling all over the kitchen, as well as a hedgehog and an enormous, possibly dead, rat; Grandma is not pleased. “When we woke up on Tuesday, / got dressed and ran downstairs, / we found our troubled grandma tearing out her hair.” Now the cat’s brought in a bat, mice, lizards, ants, and some stranger’s underwear! On Wednesday when the kids come down, Grandma is “pointing at the kitchen and looking very grim. / ‘OH NO NO NO!’ she cried. / ‘Look what the CAT dragged in.’ ” Snakes, spiders, maggots, possibly dead birds, and a cheesed-off weasel—as well as a stranger’s laundry—have been added to the pile. On Saturday, the kids are just too scared to go into the kitchen, but Sunday brings a surprise: All is clean and normal….Grandma’s nailed up the cat flap and vowed the cat would stay in at night. Published in New Zealand in 2018, Davidson’s syncopated story of feline sneakiness will delight the youngest gross-out–loving crowd. The rhymed text almost begs to be sung, and Cooper’s exaggerated cartoon illustrations are expressive, silly, and satisfyingly ookie. The family presents white, and, refreshingly, this grandma is not gray-haired.

This week’s worth of yucky, rhyming fun (and giggles) is a pleaser. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912904-60-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scribblers/Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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