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In the end, family love wins out.

Siblings often disagree, even bunny brothers and sisters.

When Brayden’s friend Lena visits, he becomes upset because Lena plays with his two sisters first. He scoffs at their stereotypical girl games, but when they play gender-neutral hide-and-seek, he still won’t join. He had wanted to show Lena his “secret hiding place today—the one with the carrots.” Brayden’s jealousy prevents him from having fun until badger Benny comes to play with trains. Inexplicably and problematically, Benny wears a cowboy hat, and Brayden sports a feathered headdress as they play. When Benny mentions that a storm is brewing, suddenly Brayden thinks about the girls. He tells his friend that he must find them because they are “scared stiff of thunder.” Benny can’t understand the bunny’s anxiety, but Brayden resolutely states: “Brothers and sisters have to look out for one another.” The girls are not so happy to be the object of Brayden’s concern, however, and reveal that he is also afraid of thunderstorms. Back in their cozy living room, Brayden hands out carrots from his secret cache, and Mommy comes home to find her children happy with each other once again. While the story takes a great many words (set in fairly small print) to tell and is a little saccharine, the accomplished watercolor illustrations are quite engaging, full of detailed European woodland flora and fauna.

In the end, family love wins out. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4279-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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