Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to...

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AND THE COW SAID

One uninvited animal guest after another drives a farmer out of his house in this noisy nighttime romp.

Poor Farmer Bill is just about to go to bed on a rainy night when there’s a knock at the door. “He opened it up, and a head peeked through. / It was a cow, and the cow said…MOO!” The cow is only the first in a line of livestock that troops in, one at a time, or lurks in wait outside to bleat, squeak, bark, or utter some other characteristic call at the (firm) press of a white spot on each animal’s body. The chip embedded in the rear cover having no fewer than 10 separate sounds programmed in, Farmer Bill finds no rest—not even up on the roof, where a rooster waits to “bellow” its morning greeting as the sun comes up on a climactic animal chorus. The noises are more familiar (and less gross) than in the similarly polyphonic Ten Monsters in the Bed (2015), which some at least may see as a good thing, but on the final page the contact spots are both unmarked and mostly not located where the animals are. Hearing the farm creatures sound off again will require pressing at random and hoping for a result. On the other hand, the chip’s battery is replaceable, so this is less ephemeral than others of its sort.

Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to go along with the audio. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0101-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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