SURPRISE by Mies van Hout
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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Extraordinary colors and single words describe the journey of bird parents and children.

Each spread has a single word on one page and an image on the other. For “expecting,” chalklike on a red background, little bundles nestle inside the central “e” of that word, and one leg of the “in” has little bird toes. Opposite, on a black background, a rounded, fluffy red bird sits on three eggs, whose inhabitants echo the shapes in that “e” and who look fully ready to come forth. On the next page, a blue, confetti-speckled bird greets a tiny fuchsia birdling just emerging from its shell: The word on the blue page opposite is “marveling.” “Cherishing” happens when a little creature sleeps nestled between the green-y wings of a similar-shaped bird; “listening” finds a green and blue arced neck curved entirely around a bright yellow chick so not a note or word would be lost. First published in 2013 in Dutch, the book’s surprise comes not only in the obvious delight in each word, but on the last page, where a bevy of brightly colored chicks fly off into the deep blue, and a contented looking blue bird gazes upon them, “letting go.”

While certainly a work that will appeal to parents, it will also delight children with the profusion of color and the single words illustrated with so much energy and imagination. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-935954-34-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2014


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