Both surprisingly charming and respectful of its readers.

READ REVIEW

TODAY I'M A VETERINARIAN

From the Today I'm a... series

A week in the life of an imaginative would-be animal doctor.

The Today I’m a… series of board books walks children through seven typical days of work in a given profession; publishing simultaneously are books about a construction worker, a race car driver, and a dancer. While the lead characters in the latter three books conform to conventional gender stereotypes, brown-skinned Dr. Emma and her unnamed male vet tech (called a “nurse”) do not. Each volume in the series does include other characters in nontraditional roles: female construction workers, male dancers, and a girl in the pit crew, for example. No ethnicities are specified, but the cast is racially diverse. The books are eye-catching and fun to handle; each is die cut in the shape of a happy child dressed for the book’s make-believe profession. They are simply formatted: The first page introduces the characters by name (“Hi, I’m Dr. Emma, and I’m a veterinarian”) and describes what happens on Monday; each facing page has an illustrated glossary of the clothing, furniture, office supplies, and equipment used in each profession. Each book uses sensible occupational vocabulary and teaches the days of the week. Dr. Emma treats house pets, farm animals, and the exotic animals at the zoo on Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, Dr. Emma stays home to read up on the latest developments in animal health care, setting an excellent example for aspiring veterinarians.

Both surprisingly charming and respectful of its readers. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30442-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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