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

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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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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