A CUB STORY

A cub frolics and munches his way through an idyllic first year.

“I am a bear. Do you see me?” Nestled inside a tall book with a narrow trim size, a small bear lives its best life, introducing young readers to bear habitats, foods, and activities throughout all the seasons. The bear’s breezy, childlike narration is informative; digestible chunks of information tell readers that it is “an expert at smelling” and has “big claws.” But within this simplicity there are helpful visual and textual cues about seasonal changes and useful context given through direct comparisons: “Compared to a hedgehog, I eat a lot. Compared to a moose, I eat a little.” Laced throughout the story are tender turns of phrase that make the narrative more intimate, as when the cub rests in a “cuddle lump.” The round, inquisitive, and endearing cub does mostly bearlike things, such as encountering delicious blackberries and fishing in streams, but there are a few slightly anthropomorphized scenes, such as when the bear plays “games” with a fox and wolf, making this book nonfiction-adjacent. Farrell’s loose, languid, full-bleed illustrations appear airy and simple and create a warm and homey feel, especially in a dark hibernation scene with the cub and its mother: “With my mama, I am just right.”

Bear-y sweet. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7458-7

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more