Romantic and attractive but ultimately unsatisfying.

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BEAR HUG

A childlike version of a bear’s life story.

Recognizing that winter is coming, a young bear prepares, just as he learned to do from his parents. He makes a warm bed in his cave, catches fish and finds berries to eat, and finds a companion for the long winter’s sleep. They wake up in the spring to another season and a cub to teach in turn. This sweet story of Mama and Papa raising their child together is, sadly, directly contrary to the facts of brown bear life. Brown bears are usually solitary. Like nearly 30 percent of the children in this country, bear cubs are raised by a single parent. Male and female parents share neither winter dens nor parenting duties. McEwen has illustrated her idyllic depiction of family life with appealing earth-toned collages. The bears’ natural world includes stylized trees and snowflakes, a “shivery river” filled with “fat silvery fish,” and grand birds. At one point, the family perches on a bee tree from which one parent pulls a ribbon of honey. Some illustrations are full-bleed, sometimes extending across a spread, while others spill out of a background frame. The gentle text, set in a very thin serif type, is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the textured background.

Romantic and attractive but ultimately unsatisfying. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6630-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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

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