Darling.

READ REVIEW

CHIRRI & CHIRRA, ON THE TOWN

Dring-dring, dring-dring!” Chirri and Chirra’s bicycle bells summon readers on another serene adventure.

This fifth book about the imperturbable bicycle-riding youngsters is something of a departure for the Japanese series, taking them into the human landscape of a nearby town instead of a tiny, fantastical one in surrounding nature. But that doesn’t make it any less adorable. A shop of yarn and thread “in every color!” offers the same visually detailed satisfaction as did earlier outings to a moles’ peanut farm (Chirri & Chirra Underground, 2019) or a bumblebees’ kitchen (Chirri & Chirra in the Tall Grass, 2017). The children each pick two balls of yarn and bicycle to a weaver’s, where they fall asleep as their yarn is woven into scarves. Following the faint sound of their names, they bicycle to “a beautiful house,” where they are welcomed in for soup. Lest children fear that the wee adventurers have become terribly prosaic, in the house’s garden they find parent birds who welcome them to a party celebrating their new babies. There is no danger in Chirri and Chirra’s world—just welcome and delight. Doi employs her characteristic smudgy style, rounded, flowing shapes surrounded by soft borders of white that reinforce the cozy feel. Most shops’ signs display Japanese characters, but the town’s denizens exhibit a variety of racial presentations; the protagonists have pale skin, rosy cheeks, black pageboys, and blue dot eyes.

Darling. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59270-278-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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