Maisy and friends are always a delight.

MAISY GOES TO A SHOW

From the Maisy First Experiences series

Maisy and her friends attend a live theater performance and have a wonderful time.

Part of the Maisy First Experiences series, this outing finds the group with tickets, presumably purchased by their grown-ups, to see Flora Fantastica starring in Funny Feathers.The iconic, wildly popular mouse and her animal friends show their tickets, get programs, and find their front-row seats. Along with the rest of the audience, they get very quiet for the raising of the curtain. The show is a musical tale of jungle animals heading for the big city. Stagehands, here called special helpers, take away the jungle set and bring on the city. The curtain comes down for intermission, a bathroom break for Maisy and Cyril, and snack time for Charley and Tallulah. The bell rings, and it’s time for the second act. At the end there are cheers and a standing ovation. The friends sing as they head home from a wonderful adventure. Cousins includes all the essential elements and appropriate new vocabulary and never allows the enthusiasm to wane. As in previous books in this series, a new experience is treated in a nonthreatening, encouraging tone for very young readers who might be excited but a bit apprehensive about a special event. The signature gouache illustrations in the brightest of hues are familiar and appealing.

Maisy and friends are always a delight. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0463-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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 sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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