A SNOW DAY FOR HANNAH

A puppy goes on joyful adventures in this photo-filled rhyming picture book.

  Hannah is an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy who loves to play in the snow. After realizing that a snowstorm is coming, Hannah hurries inside—only to return outdoors to sled, build a snowman and hike through the woods once the sun has returned. The photographs, full of breathtaking scenery, are engaging, particularly those that show Hannah in action. However, the rhymes are often forced and contain challenging vocabulary for young readers: "As she headed for home / she could feel the storm coming / with her fine sense of smell, / her sight, and her cunning." Bunch gives Hannah the gift of speech, attributing observations directly to the young pup ("The air smells so clean!" / She barked right out loud), but in most instances, Hannah acts like a normal pooch. The moments she takes on human qualities are jarring, such as when she is buried up to her neck in a snow angel. Evidence of humans is clearly present, such as when Hannah walks along a paved road or perches in a human-sized chair to watch the snowfall from inside. The story would be stronger if a human appeared to create a snow angel—or "help" Hannah build a snowman—rather than anthropomorphizing the puppy. Furthermore, some of the digital editing makes Hannah and landmarks, such as a sign for a hiking trail, appear superimposed. Hannah's genuine poses and the scenery are so delightful that the editing feels unnecessary. Very young readers, however, aren’t likely to be concerned with such incongruities. Hannah is an engaging enough character that awkward moments in the narration and pressures to suspend disbelief are easily forgiven. Practiced readers struggling with the advanced vocabulary may be less satisfied.   With a cute hero and gorgeous vistas depicted in clear, bright photos, young readers will happily curl up on a parent's lap to see Hannah's antics.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0977778119

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Book Club Productions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2012

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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