This darling story that celebrates love, friendship and perseverance is a thoroughgoing delight.

READ REVIEW

A MOUNTAIN OF FRIENDS

A charming picture book about the lengths friends will go to for one another.

The little penguin protagonist is sad, as while he is a bird, he cannot fly. Thus his wish to “soar above the clouds” is destined to fail, try as he might. But while penguin may not possess the ability to fly, he does have a caring and determined group of animal friends who work to make his dreams a reality. Turning their delightfully expressive gazes outward at readers, penguin’s friends ask them for help (“Yes, you!” exhorts the sign held in elephant’s trunk). A page turn instructs readers to turn the book clockwise and “see what happens,” resulting in a 90-degree change of orientation that has pages turning up-to-down instead of left-to-right. Readers are then made privy to the ways little penguin’s friends endeavor to help him achieve his goal. First, the animals take penguin to a hill...but the clouds are still far away. They then pile stones for penguin to stand on, and when that doesn’t work, they stack themselves in a teetering tower that occupies four vertical double-page spreads, till, finally, the “clouds are not too high.” Although some of the animals in the pileup are previously unintroduced in the story, they appear in the portrait gallery on the rear endpapers.

This darling story that celebrates love, friendship and perseverance is a thoroughgoing delight. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55455-313-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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