Maybe the story needed a little bit more growth in order to deliver a satisfying ending.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE BEAR WANTS TO GROW

A little cub learns that there’s just no way to speed up growing up.

Little Bear doesn’t heed his parents’ advice to “Be patient” about growing up and instead decides to ask others for help. Neighbor Bear tells him to eat ice cream, Grandma Bear advises lemonade, Uncle Bear advocates bicycling, and Auntie Bear suggests painting. (Little Bear and his parents are polar bears, as are Uncle and Grandma Bear; Neighbor Bear and Auntie Bear have brown fur.) Alas, nothing helps him grow in size, though perhaps the underlying message is that pleasurable experiences make the journey to growing up go by more quickly? Otherwise readers may feel that these grown-up bears are stringing the earnest little cub along with their nonsensical, playful advice. At the book’s end the crestfallen, still-small cub returns to his parents, and they reassure him that he will “grow a little but every day. Just like that!” without doing anything special. A closing spread depicts the trio in a bear hug but misses an opportunity to show the little cub in the future all grown up or even just a bit bigger as evidence to reassure similarly distressed readers. The pastel-hued illustrations are equally insubstantial, though children will get some chuckles at the sight of Little Bear on the pot after many glasses of lemonade.

Maybe the story needed a little bit more growth in order to deliver a satisfying ending. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-408-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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