Fox’s inimitable rhyming text and Horacek’s buoyant illustrations offer youngsters another winning choice.

BONNIE & BEN RHYME AGAIN

Siblings Bonnie and Ben show off the numerous nursery rhymes they know while they walk with friend and mentor Skinny Doug.

When they reach a familiar hill, they launch into “Jack and Jill.” The sight of a couple of sheep ahead prompts a recital of “Little Bo Peep.” A plum tree they happen upon brings on “Little Jack Horner.” And a hairy black spider hanging from a lamppost elicits “Little Miss Muffet.” After the stars come out on their return home, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” precedes their going to bed, all rhymed out. Fox and Horacek previously teamed up for the effervescent Where is the Green Sheep (2004) and do so again to create a delightful narrative anchored by a repeated rhymed refrain. Between each traditional verse Skinny Doug exclaims: “I love it, I love it! / Well done, and hurrah! / Can you tell me another? / How clever you are!” (This will read as assonance in most parts of the U.S. but is likely a perfect rhyme in Fox’s native Australia.) The colorfully stylized cartoon artwork, familiar from the duo’s previous work, gives this jaunty, rambunctious outing extra flair as the nursery characters, painted in an array of skin hues, join in to trail Bonnie, Ben, and Skinny Doug (all white-presenting).

Fox’s inimitable rhyming text and Horacek’s buoyant illustrations offer youngsters another winning choice. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5352-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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While there’s rhyme, this text lacks reason.

MAYBE MOTHER GOOSE

Nursery rhymes provide playful opportunities for a diverse classroom.

Readers familiar with Codell’s work may recognize that Chavarri models the teacher character after her in the colorful, digital illustrations. The teacher greets a multiracial group of children entering her nursery school classroom in frontmatter pages. And the text begins with a brief Q-and-A: “Circle time? Yes. Playing with friends? Yes. Indoor recess? NOOOOO!” The teacher holds up a Mother Goose book to entice her disappointed charges, who stand looking out at the rain in the last part of this exchange. The subsequent double-page spread doesn’t seem quite to follow, as it first shows the “Twinkle Twinkle” rhyme and then depicts a pajama-clad black child answering “Yes” to “Window?” “Star?” “Wish?” and “NOOOOO!” to “Space aliens?” But then a page turn delivers the equivocal verdict “Well, maybe” and shows the child cavorting in a fantastic outer-space scene with extraterrestrials, spaceships, and the cow jumping over the moon. (Is this indoor recess?) The Q-and-A pattern continues with other rhymes until the book’s end, when it returns to classroom, teacher, and children, who can now go outside to play since the rain, rain’s gone away.

While there’s rhyme, this text lacks reason. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4036-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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With yet another seamless marriage of verse and image, readers will hope Frost and Lieder’s creative union continues as long...

HELLO, I'M HERE!

Parents and offspring unite in this arresting portrait of a crane family.

The fifth collaboration between Frost and Lieder (Wake Up!, 2017, etc.), more than any of their prior ventures showcasing tiny creatures from the animal and insect world, here focuses on the tender familial relations of one species: the sandhill crane. As the author’s note highlights and Lieder’s signature photographs well illustrate, with an adult wingspan nearing 6 feet, this large marsh dweller is renowned among shorebirds for its distinctive vermilion-crested head, blazing saffron eyes, and tendency to mate for life. In clever counterpoint to Lieder’s stunning close-ups, Frost’s wee verse protagonist starts telling its tale while still in the egg, hearing its parents as it finally pecks through and its “shell falls away,” revealing a wide-eyed tawny chick with spindly legs, downy fuzz, and diminutive, pointy beak. Lieder’s silhouettes capture the chick’s dogged determination to make its presence known as well as its tentative first movements: “Could I stand up / straight and tall? / Will my legs hold me? / What if I fall?” Children will easily relate to Frost’s depiction of the chick’s daring inquisitiveness while simultaneously finding comfort in the affirming theme of constant parental guidance and caring.

With yet another seamless marriage of verse and image, readers will hope Frost and Lieder’s creative union continues as long as that of their happily wed sandhill subjects. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9858-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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