Adorable. Readers will flock to this barnyard charmer.

Drafted by an overambitious duckling, Wuddles the sheep unwittingly ends up donating a barnyard’s worth of winter gear.

We’ve all had that friend who’s fleeced you into doing more than you were expecting—and the charismatic culprit here is a wee, butter-colored duckling. The duckling borrows a bit of wool from Wuddles, who is serenely encased in winter fluff, to create a spiffy scarf. It’s such a success that the duckling launches a full-on fashion show. There’s plenty of silliness as readers watch a frenetic duckling fit a surprised Rabbit with soft earmuffs or wrap Goose in a sweater vest. Mellow watercolors ooze old-fashioned charm, with monotone barn backgrounds contrasting with bright pops of color from the lively, charismatic barnyard animals. With raucous stream-of-consciousness narration, the duckling is both hero and villain, and the story’s a kick to read aloud. While the duckling genuinely wants to help Goat avoid “extra cold” legs and to provide chilly piggies with trendy onesies, the protagonist’s total obliviousness to Wuddles’ expressive and increasingly chagrined face provides just the right level of conflict for young readers. Observant kiddos will notice Wuddles’ voluminous fleece shrinking and predict the coming crisis—Wuddles is out of wool. They’ll certainly approve of Duck’s cuddly way of making amends, an enthusiastic “group hug” that wraps Wuddles in a solution as warm as, well, wool. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Adorable. Readers will flock to this barnyard charmer. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781665916769

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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