Sure to have kids imagining what kinds of underpants other species might wear.

THOSE ARE NOT MY UNDERPANTS!

Will Bear Cub ever find the owner of the pair of underpants hanging in the tree outside his cave?

His distressed expression will show readers that he takes this job seriously—someone somewhere has a bare bum. In a pattern that repeats, Bear Cub asks his friends in turn if the tighty whities happen to belong to them. When they say no, he asks, “Are you sure?” and they give the reason why they can’t possibly be theirs: There’s no hole for Squirrel’s tail, Bat’s underpants glow in the dark, they smell too good to be Skunk’s, and Salmon wears a swimsuit instead. They don’t belong to Turtle, Owl, Snake, Beaver, or Moose, either. So, Bear Cub heads home…to a surprise (maybe not for close observers) revelation from Momma Bear, who, strangely enough, wears no underwear herself. The diversity of underpants on display will keep readers in stitches, and the animals’ reactions to Bear Cub’s inquiries about something so personal are both very funny and so true to life for kids: Turtle seems almost prudish, Salmon is joyfully matter-of-fact, Skunk seems proud of their characteristic trait, and Beaver is terribly shy. Though those reading aloud may get tired of the word underpants, repeated 34 times not including the title, kids will find it hysterical, and the repetition supports new readers.

Sure to have kids imagining what kinds of underpants other species might wear. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984831-89-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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