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

READ REVIEW

HOW COULD A BEAR SLEEP HERE?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more