Visually lovely and sure to be a read-aloud hit; put on some Ella Fitzgerald, too.

LITTLE WOLF'S FIRST HOWLING

A wolf pup tries out his howling technique in this picture book.

Little Wolf is excited to be accompanying his father, Big Wolf, to the top of the hill for his first howling. As the full moon rises, Little Wolf is raring to try, but his father holds him back, telling him he will first “demonstrate proper howling form.” When it’s Little Wolf’s turn, he begins properly, but then creative exuberance (humorously rendered with a superabundance of A’s and O’s, increasingly punctuated by scat syllables) takes over, and no matter how many times Big Wolf patiently demonstrates proper technique, Little Wolf can’t help adding his own spin. Even Big Wolf’s gentle disapproval can’t dampen Little Wolf’s ardor. Eventually of course, Big Wolf comes around to see it from Little Wolf’s point of view, and the story ends with the two wolves, father and pup, howling with gusto in very improper howling form. Kvasnosky’s story celebrates all that is fresh and original in the creative spirit of children, and her text will be great fun as a read-aloud, especially after some practice. Kvasnosky and McGee’s collaborative illustrations are done in gouache resist with digital colorization, a striking technique that particularly emphasizes the black night and the bright moonlight. All double-page spreads, the illustrations successfully evoke the vast beauty of the country the wolves inhabit.

Visually lovely and sure to be a read-aloud hit; put on some Ella Fitzgerald, too. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8971-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more