A sweet, fun romp through a winter forest with a goofy protagonist kids will love.

A BEAR IS A BEAR

(EXCEPT WHEN HE'S NOT)

When a bear wakes up early from hibernation, he can’t seem to remember what kind of animal he is.

In his search for his forgotten identity, the bear wanders the snowy forest, observing the creatures all around him. He attempts to emulate each animal he sees, but all to no avail. When he tries to be a bird, he realizes he cannot fly. When he tries to be a moose, he realizes he can’t stand the taste of grass. When he tries to be a fox, he fails to prance. And when he tries to be a squirrel, he doesn’t like having to climb so high. Finally, the narrator tells the bear that he’s woken up from hibernation in December, instead of in the spring, and reassures him that when he does wake up, he’ll know exactly who he is. The bear obediently goes back into his cave and settles into a cozy slumber. Happily, the rest does wonders for the bear’s memory, and the spring brings a happy ending, accompanied by a suitably colorful and cheerful illustration. The book’s rhyming text is charming, funny, and delightful to read aloud. Unfortunately, the shift from third to second person is jarring and, on the first read through, confusing in its abruptness. The gorgeous, softly textured illustrations effectively enhance the story’s witty twists and turns. Particularly charming is the bear’s expressive face, which effectively conveys his confusion, frustration, sadness, and joy.

A sweet, fun romp through a winter forest with a goofy protagonist kids will love. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1202-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more