A light spin on the “be careful what you wish for” theme.


A bear in search of some shut-eye ends up with a day at the beach.

Shelby, an anthropomorphic brown bear, wants to sleep but is distracted by woodland noises. He searches for a quiet spot and ends up in what he thinks is “the PERFECT cave, deep, dark, and PEACEFUL, with no crunch-munching squirrels or tat-tatting birds,” but it’s actually the undercarriage of a passenger bus. The bus’s destination is a crowded beach, which Shelby finds just as noisy as the woods, whether he’s crouched under the boardwalk or seeking refuge in seagrass. The worst disruption comes at night when, while burrowed in an elaborate sand castle, Shelby is suddenly awoken by fireworks. His sleep is then interrupted at daybreak when he hears a “cub” crying—it’s a mewling orange kitten stranded on a piling. The bear swims out and rescues it, only to then be overwhelmed by news crews covering the story. He slinks off and then is delighted to find a bus that returns him to the woods where he began. The noises are still present, but odds and ends from his journey help him block them out and, finally, sleep. Throughout, the bright, cartoon-style art fills in details suggested by text, such as a swooping dragon kite that comes “SWISH-SWOOOOSH-FLAP-FLAP-FLAP[PING]” over seagrass. Although the setup has echoes of Margot Zemach’s It Could Always Be Worse, this tale lacks that classic’s folkloric compression.

A light spin on the “be careful what you wish for” theme. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3679-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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