An exemplary addition to the shelves of nature-themed picture books.

WINTER DANCE

As winter begins to set in, a curious fox wonders what he ought to do.

Winter is coming—a snowflake has just fallen on the nose of the “fine red fox”—and he wonders what he should do. With each page turn, he encounters a critter that gives him advice. A caterpillar tells him to wrap himself in a chrysalis and become a butterfly in the spring, but the fox replies that he was “not meant to fly.” The bat tells him to find a cave, hang by his toes, and go to sleep, but the fox says his “toes would get tired.” The squirrel tells him to “gather, gather, gather,” but the fox replies, “I don’t even like acorns.” In this cheerful way, readers follow the fox through his rambles while learning what different creatures do during the winter. Bauer’s free-verse narrative is sprightly and accomplished, with a playful touch and earnest humor. Jones’ full-page illustrations, done in rich, muted earth tones, are stunningly designed and executed—the hare is particularly effective—while the book’s illustrated endpapers amplify the story with satisfying detail. What the fox ultimately finds to do may surprise readers, but it is, like the rest of the book, based in fact.

An exemplary addition to the shelves of nature-themed picture books. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-31334-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more