A clever, nest-building saga that reminds us how interconnected we are.

In this “The House That Jack Built”–style tale, wayward wisps of hair trigger a chain reaction resulting in an unlikely union of bears and birds.

“This is the lair the bears shared.” Three bear cubs and a mother bear peek out of their den. The following page shows the mother slumbering. Brown fur, propelled by the sleeping mother bear’s breath, wafts outside and across the double-page spread to a perky red bird as the text explains, “This is the hair that came / from the lair / the bears shared.” With each page turn, another element is added to the rhyme as momentum and drama build. The bird borrows the bear’s hair to build a nest for three baby birds in a tall tree that the wind shakes and a rain cloud soaks until the branch holding the nest cracks, tossing the nest and baby birds into a bush and eventually onto slippery ground, where they slide into the bear lair. In a full-circle finale, mama bear and cubs confront mama bird and the baby birds. As the catchy cadenced text expands, its repetition and rich alliterative language (“water whirled on wind,” “the bush with bouncy boughs”) are ideal for reading aloud. Illustrations effectively use close-ups and unusual perspectives to heighten excitement, while pastel hues and soft shapes create a gentle, reassuring aura for the unusual bear-bird encounter. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A clever, nest-building saga that reminds us how interconnected we are. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-374-38904-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023



Sweet and silly—good enough for Halloween

The barnyard animals love Halloween. Farmer Brown does not. Sounds like the perfect time for tricks and treats!

Since Farmer Brown wants nothing to do with the scary holiday, “he leaves a bowl of candy on the porch….draws the shades and locks the door.” Out in the barn, though, the party is just getting started. Saturated watercolors show Cow dressed as a skeleton, the chickens looking quite ghostly and the sheep donning witch hats. As field mice and cats arrive, creepy sounds begin. The “crunch, crunch, crunching” and the “creak, creak, creaking” lead to a “tap, tap, tapping.” Hearing them, Farmer Brown peeks out his window to investigate. Readers will chuckle and easily recognize “the dark creature standing beneath the trees.” The farmer, however, runs to his bedroom to pull the covers up over his head. Now the sounds repeat, as the figure comes closer. This time, though, the tapping is followed by a “quack, quack, quackle.” Wait—“Quackle??” Farmer Brown goes out to the porch to find the candy bowl gone and a note on the door announcing, “Halloween Party at the barn!” The chorus of onomatopoeic phrases throughout the briskly paced text guarantees an interactive read-aloud, though fans of Duck’s earlier outings will miss their satiric bite.

Sweet and silly—good enough for Halloween . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6553-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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