A delightful tribute to books, friendship, and company.

YOURS IN BOOKS

Owl T. Fencepost’s adventure begins when the fusty bird attempts to order How To Soundproof Your Forest Dwelling from the catalog of a nearby, squirrel-owned bookshop.

This very funny sendup of epistolary novels combines understated text with hyperbolic yet charming art. Distinctive voices and a large format make it perfect for reading aloud. When Owl pens the initial letter from “Top of Oak / Near the Clearing / and the Noisy Small Animals,” the letter details why Owl requests that particular book: “so that I might read in peace, alone.” The bird sits at the writing table, amid books and a quill pen in its inkwell, with large pillows deployed to muffle the noise. The formal letter appears opposite, on the recto. The following double-page spread follows this format, with a bespectacled squirrel searching colorful stacks on the verso. Concluding with the titular words, B. Squirrel signs the formal, regretful reply that the book is out of stock. Owl’s next request—for a handbook on moving to a remote island—is instead met with a gift: a book promoting life in the woods. Throughout, the pen-and-ink sketches with watercolor show a multitude of feathered, furry, and shelled neighborhood children, continuously—and sometimes rambunctiously—interacting with a bird who repeatedly declares a desire for solitude. The wise squirrel, whose signature familiarizes into Bessie over the course of the letter exchanges (by literal snail mail), recommends books that lead to positive changes in everyone’s lives.

A delightful tribute to books, friendship, and company. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951836-20-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2021

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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