BILLY'S BEETLE

In a cleverly elaborated story with a cumulative element, Billy looks for the beetle that's escaped from his matchbox. All overeager to help is a group that becomes ever more preposterous- -with the addition of a dog on a very long leash, a hedgehog, a polar bear, an elephant, and even a brass band. True to his nature, it's the hedgehog that eventually spots the beetle—but by that time Billy himself is missing. The simple, deftly drawn illustrations convey much of the delightful humor here. There's a final twist involving a lost caterpillar, and a gatefold that expands to dramatize the satisfying conclusion. Small readers will also enjoy the fact that they can find the beetle on every page, crawling unseen from one character to another. Truly childlike and unusually entertaining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-200427-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

THERE'S NO ONE I LOVE LIKE YOU

Langreuter and Dahle’s gentle story fails to cover any new ground, but readers will relate to Brayden’s experience and...

In this German import, a bunny is convinced that living with his friends will be easier and more enjoyable than obeying the rules at home.

Late one morning, Brayden is reluctant to get out of bed, pick up his toys, wash his whiskers or play with his sisters. He grumbles to his mother, “I wish I could go live with my friends.…I wouldn’t have to do chores.” When his mother asks him if this is really what he wants to do, he picks up his backpack and leaves. All of Brayden’s friends’ families warmly welcome him, but no one scratches his ears “like Mommy does.” No place is exactly right: Missy Mouse’s house is too messy, with toys everywhere; Benny Badger’s family smells “a little funny” because they never wash up; Fipsi Squirrel’s home is too high up in the tree to climb. Cousin Pepi’s house seems perfect until Brayden gets “a curious lump in his bunny throat,…an odd tugging in his bunny tummy [and] a strange jabbing in his bunny heart.” Readers will immediately understand what is happening—he is missing his home and his mommy. Soon, Brayden returns, and Mommy Bunny lovingly welcomes him with a perfect scratch on his ears.

Langreuter and Dahle’s gentle story fails to cover any new ground, but readers will relate to Brayden’s experience and perhaps develop a better appreciation for the comforts and rules of home. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4126-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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