From the God Gave Us series

Though not all Papa’s answers will satisfy those of every Christian denomination, the Bible basics are here, and adults can...

Polar bears Papa and Little Cub have an important talk about angels—who and where they are, what they do, and what role they play in our lives—as they explore their Arctic habitat.

Angels pass along messages from God, serve God, sing and watch over all of us. In this latest in the God Gave Us series, Little Cub’s questions and comments are spot-on for a curious child. When Papa tells her that angels serve God and are always worshipping Him, Little Cub asks, “Does all that worshipin’ give them those halo thingies?” Papa’s answers are appropriate for Little Cub’s age, and he does not answer every query concretely—he isn’t sure why God doesn’t send angels to keep us from every hurt and sickness. Papa’s comment that we should be nice to all we meet as they may be angels in disguise nicely brings angels down to Earth and gives children a mission. Bryant’s soft watercolor illustrations show the tender love the father and daughter polar bears share. Many spreads depict an angel watching over the pair—behind a snowy hill, within a waterfall, in the shape of a cloud, flying in the night sky.

Though not all Papa’s answers will satisfy those of every Christian denomination, the Bible basics are here, and adults can tweak the text to suit the faith they want to pass on to their own lap-sitters. (Picture book/religion. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60142-661-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014


Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016


Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018