Not Sebe’s best, but fans will want the complete collection.

READ REVIEW

100 HUNGRY MONKEYS!

Sebe is up to some monkey business with his latest counting escapade, following 100 hungry monkeys as they search for food, take a nap, narrowly escape a monster who turns out to be a new friend, have a campfire singalong and bed down for the night after a very busy day.

Young readers are sure to sympathize with the hungry monkeys who groan, cry and complain about their empty bellies, and their body language will be familiar to all those adults who have dealt with a famished child. As in his previous two counting outings, Sebe rewards patient readers who are slow to turn the pages with seek-and-find games on every page (and another at the back of the book). Humorous asides from various monkeys combine with questions for readers to answer using the busy illustrations: “Which monkey is biting a tail?” “Where is the baby monkey?” These questions challenge color, food and animal recognition, vocabulary knowledge, and of course, counting skills. Unlike Let’s Count to 100! (2011), the monkeys are spread willy-nilly across the pages with no effort made at organization or grouping, so counting each spread of 100 is a challenge indeed. Too, the similar-looking monkeys get a little old after just a few page turns, their expressions and body language often off-putting.

Not Sebe’s best, but fans will want the complete collection. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77138-045-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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THE SNOWY NAP

A hedgehog tries to stay awake for winter.

It’s almost time to hibernate, and Hedgie means to. But as he sniffs the chilly wind, farmyard animals taunt him about what he’ll miss. The hens’ coop will be “bedazzled by icicles”; the geese will joyfully “slip and slide across the pond ice”; the pony will pull a sleigh; snowflakes will fall, no two alike. The animals heckling Hedgie—hens, geese, sheep, pigs, a billy goat, a pony—are drawn with fine lines, hatchings, and textures. Because their faces are mostly realistic with only faint hints of anthropomorphism, their needling is subtle; some readers may hear their points as merely informative. Either way, Hedgie’s seized by FOMO: He decides to stay awake. When he accidentally nods off, farm girl Lisa brings him indoors and places him in a tea cozy on a windowsill. Nature will eventually run its course, but not before Hedgie finally glimpses “flowers of frost decorating his window,” the chicken coop “sparkl[ing] like a palace,” and Lisa pond-sliding with the geese. Brett’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations feature both soft and bright colors, with fine lines and copious textures to peruse; the borders are characteristically fussy (braided yarn, pinking-shears edging, oval insets) but not distractingly so. Between the opulent farmhouse with decorative plates on the walls, the sleigh with sleigh bells, and the lack of adults, combined with a comfortably heated interior, this is a winter idyll. Lisa presents white.

Amiable. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17073-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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