A chilly tale to warm the heart.

PUP AND BEAR

A lost wolf pup is taken in by a polar bear in Banks and Stoop's sweet arctic tale.

As winter descends on the Arctic tundra, a young wolf pup becomes separated from his pack, isolated on an ice floe. He swims to shore, tired and cold, and finds himself face to face with a large polar bear. Frightened, the pup is perplexed when the bear nuzzles him rather than attacking: “Aren’t you going to eat me?” After all, “Polar bears eat wolves.” “Not this one” is the polar bear’s reply, and she explains that though she is not his mother, she can keep him safe and warm. The two stay together through the Big Freeze and the Big Melt, the bear teaching the pup how to fish, playing with him, and, when the time comes, gently sending him out into the world on his own. The pup, now a fully grown arctic wolf, acquires a pack of his own, leading it over the tundra until, one day, he comes upon a small polar bear cub alone in the snow and pays forward the care he was shown as a pup. This quiet tale of kindness, adoption, and reciprocity uses sparse text to great effect among the crisp, wind-swept, snow-laden illustrations that practically crunch as the pages turn, cycling through the “wheel of life.”

A chilly tale to warm the heart. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55409-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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