Good concept and visuals but not totally worth howling about.

WEREWOLF? THERE WOLF!

A modern “Little Red Riding Hood” with a twist.

Distracted by the device in her hand, Little Red heads down the dangerous fork to her grandmother’s home. She wanders into the Wolf-Filled Woods, where wolves—of every “type, shape, and size”—hungrily lurk along the path. Eyes still glued to her smartphone, Red doesn’t see a single one. That is, until the “biggest and baddest” wolf emerges from behind a tree. Red throws her phone. She trembles, shivers, and even plays dead until she gets the “bright, helpful thought” to stand up to the wolf instead. She warns the wolf of a nearby werewolf that will gobble him up. The wolf is skeptical, but he asks Red whether each wolf in the forest—from square (-shaped) wolf to barely there wolf—is the loup garou in question. Soon, the full moon is in sight and—surprise!—Red transforms into the werewolf. Hunt’s colorful, eye-catching cartoon illustrations are filled with whimsical background details. The staging and facial expressions give the proceedings an animated-movie feel. Sullivan’s clever concept effectively flips the script on the classic tale. While the memorable twist itself is up to par with the one in Mo Willems’ That Is Not a Good Idea (2013), the preachy ending and often forced rhyming couplets cheapen the fun of this otherwise vibrant tale. Red and her grandmother have light-brown skin. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Good concept and visuals but not totally worth howling about. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948931-27-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hazy Dell Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more