Strong sibling bonds are perfectly described through spare language and artwork as lush as a forest of maple and willow...

READ REVIEW

MAPLE & WILLOW TOGETHER

From the Maple series

Maple and Willow do just about everything in sweet, sisterly symbiosis.

Rain and shine, summer and winter, morning and night find the two girls (one bigger, with tight braids, the other littler, with spiky ponytails) together, usually speaking their own language: pig Latin. Pencil drawings on Mylar, enhanced with lots of fuzzy peachy pinks and leafy greens, show the girls transfixed in partnered play, their round heads and dot eyes oriented identically, scrutinizing books, worms, drawings and make-believe fairy houses. Nichols makes clever use of the book’s gutter, subtly and simply representing the invisible bridge that both connects the girls so seamlessly (and here quite beautifully) and also distinguishes them from each other. Maple calls most of the shots, as most big sisters do, and Willow doesn’t mind much, being an easygoing little. But everyone has their limits. “ADMAY!” screams Willow after being told what to do one too many times, and she stomps on Maple’s most special toy. Then comes a big push from Maple, tossing her little sister—slam—to the ground. Raw, real, and easily imagined by any child who’s finally had enough from a close friend, classmate, sister, brother (or even mommy or daddy). Sisterly love abides, of course, with pig Latin apologies all around.

Strong sibling bonds are perfectly described through spare language and artwork as lush as a forest of maple and willow trees. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16283-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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