SMILE!

When her mom says no to more cookies, chipper little Sunny loses her smile and searches the whole house hoping to get it back. She peers under the bed, sifts through the couch and questions poor Glittergills the goldfish. Even with a small, down-turned mouth Sunny remains cute as a button, and her percolating narration bounces readers from page to page. Wonderfully imperfect hand-lettered sections of text help evoke the high-pitched voice of a small girl. Charming, Lauren Child–like multimedia spreads pop with punchy colors, quirky diagrams and annotations. Sunny might have churned out the illustrations herself, bent over a kitchen table determined to tell her story. Readers learn that in scouring her home, Sunny inadvertently does quite a bit of good work: She cleans up her room, feeds Glittergills, finds Daddy’s lost flip-flop and ends up quietly playing cards with Mr. Honeycomb, the family dog. Sunny’s mother beams, lavishes her with praise and...Found it! Hodgkinson’s vivid artwork and story capture the colorful, intricate and comedic inner workings of a child’s imagination. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-185269-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2009

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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

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It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.

LOVE YOU MORE

A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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