A quiet, lovely story for the intergenerational shelf.

READ REVIEW

UP THE MOUNTAIN PATH

In this Canadian import translated from French, after many hikes together, an aging badger is no longer able to make it up the mountain; and so her cat mentee, Lulu, becomes the mentor, helping another up the hill in this cyclical story of intergenerational relationships.

Mrs. Badger is an avid hiker, making the trek to Sugarloaf Peak every Sunday, always ready with a kind word or gesture. It’s with this attitude of generosity that she befriends Lulu, a young cat who wishes to reach the mountaintop. Together they hike, and over many weeks, Lulu’s confidence and knowledge grow under the gentle guidance of Mrs. Badger. Eventually, it’s Lulu who’s helping Mrs. Badger along the way, until one day the rosy-cheeked mustelid can no longer make the sojourn. With the passage of time, the mountain slowly becomes Lulu’s alone, until one day she encounters a rabbit in much the same way Mrs. Badger met her. The two begin the hike together, continuing the same journey of friendship. Simple natural settings and character designs done in an earthy, primary palette are appealing. The artist uses simple washes with colored pencils to accent small details and patterning, and the compositions flow well, echoing the story of Lulu’s journey with both intimate scenes and vast environments. Dubuc adheres to the story’s pattern both in text and art, which makes for a pleasant and predictable journey.

A quiet, lovely story for the intergenerational shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61689-723-9

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Princeton Architectual Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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