SCARED STIFF

Davis’s (Who Hoots?, not reviewed, etc.) story has a bad case of the fidgets, which won’t go far in curing any youngster’s willies, but if nothing else, maybe the ants it drops in the pants of its readers will take their mind off their groundless fears. A little girl is scared stiff of the neighborhood dog (“There’s Ono. That’s not his real name. I call him that because every time I see him I say, ‘Oh, no!’ ”), and the creepy monsters in the hedge, and the snakes slithering out from under the door of her closet. Stopgap measures are all she has devised to handle these fears—bolting from the dog, singing a silly song for the monsters, never opening the closet door—until she decides to become a witch, “because witches aren’t afraid of anything.” She cackles, but that’s not enough; she holds her breath until she turns blue (then she remembers witches are green); she puts on long fingernails, but they fall off. She says the magic word—“Please”—and she feels different (though why is a mystery). She confronts the closet: “ ‘Oh, yeah!’ I remembered. ‘I’m a fearless witch!’ ” The snakes turn out to be shoelaces; the monsters turn out to be bushes; the dog is a big cuddlehead. Presto, fears-aren’t-us. Believe that and there’s a bridge you might want to buy. Zany perspectives, asides in balloons, images bleeding out of their frames, colors electric enough to make your teeth sing—but a story line with enough holes in it to drain spaghetti. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202305-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful.

EGGS ARE EVERYWHERE

An interactive egg hunt with turning-wheel and lift-the-flap elements.

This board book begins by directing readers to find the hidden eggs. Each wheel—there are four in all set into the interior pages—has several different eggs on it, and turning it reveals an egg in a little die-cut window. Spinning it further hides the egg behind one of two lift-the-flap panels—two baskets, for example—and readers must guess behind which they’ll find the egg they have chosen to track. A diagram on the back provides instructions for use, likely more helpful to caregivers than to little ones. There is no narrative in this book; it’s simply page after page of different directives along the lines of “Guess which door!” As a result, the focus is really on manipulatives and the illustrations. Fortunately, Kirwan’s spring-themed artwork is gorgeous. The backdrop of each page is flower- and leaf-themed with warm spring hues, echoing the artwork of Eastern European hand-stenciled Easter eggs, two of which appear at the end of the book. The animals, like the smiling snail and mischievous mice, are reminiscent of classic European fairy-tale creatures. The only human in the book is a dark-skinned child with tight, curly hair. The moveable pieces largely work, though at times the necessary white space under the flaps interrupts the illustration awkwardly, as when the child’s hands suddenly develop large oval holes if the spinner is not in the correct position. Overall, it’s more game than book.

There is no real story, but the moving parts are fun, and the illustrations are beautiful. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7457-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more