Next book


Another tribute to imagination from highly creative partners.

This tongue-in-cheek text gives instructions on elephant-discovery methods when boredom threatens; the art shows an earnest, but oblivious, child on safari—and camouflaged elephants galore.

The young child is light-skinned, blue-eyed, and fair-haired, with gender unknown. Following the (rather pedantic) narrator’s instructions, the child moves from idleness to an elephant quest. The child’s prescribed gear—including binoculars, a flute, and a blanket “that’s tasseled and brightly colored, with a story woven through the cloth”—awaits a backpack near a beckoning doorway. Page after page, the text gives pointers on elephant-spotting, while the sophisticated, textural artwork allows young readers to spot elephants that the obedient, fictional child does not see. A mostly pastel palette backgrounds the brightly clad child, veering freely between an imaginary jungle and tamer spaces. A particularly funny double-page spread shows the child filling up a bright red water bottle and standing on what appears to be a rock in a watering hole. The water is actually spurting from the trunk of a mostly submerged elephant, and the child is unwittingly perched on its large, rough knee. Although, in the end, child and elephant are merrily, consciously linked, the final whimsical image contradicts advice given much earlier—“look for something large and gray”—and compels readers to revisit the entire book.

Another tribute to imagination from highly creative partners. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-33508-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Next book


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Next book


A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Close Quickview