“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

RESCUE SQUAD NO. 9

From the No. 9 series

Following Fire Engine No. 9 (2015), Austin looks at maritime emergency vehicles.

In Austin’ s second No. 9 book, the youngest readers find a gripping, exciting ocean rescue conducted by a mixed-race, mixed-gender team using intriguing vehicles and tools: helicopter and boat, with assists from the lighthouse and trucks on the dock. The crew seems to be going through its ordinary duties when the weather changes and a distress call comes in. The text is minimal: words repeat and appear in typeface that increases in size to convey urgency: “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! // GO! GO! GO!” Bold, graphically splashy artwork captures the stormy, swelling sea and the rescue in motion. A sailboat has crashed against rocks with a sailor and dog onboard. Dramatic tension is heightened when horizontal scenes switch to vertical when the helicopter drops the Billy Pugh basket to pick up the stranded boaters. Never heard that term before? Don’t worry: endpapers feature the pieces of equipment and their names. All’s well that ends well. The squad gets the duo safely to shore as the sun comes out. An endnote includes tips for caregivers on water safety, and readers already savvy about the subject will be pleased to see that both the sailor and the dog are wearing life jackets.

“Hooray! Hooray!” (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93662-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple,...

TEN EASTER EGGS

A cheerful brown bunny hiding behind the edges of an Easter basket looks just as surprised as young children will be to find the chicks revealed as each egg “hatches.”

With help from a reading partner, young children are encouraged to count down the eggs as they disappear with each page turn. Alternatively, they can count up as the chicks are revealed. A simple phrase at the top of each right-hand page states the number of eggs in the basket. The line at the bottom (half of a rhyming couplet) tells how many chicks readers should look for. The numbers are spelled out, requiring young children to recognize the word instead of the more familiar numeral. On the left-hand page, the spaces previously occupied by an egg begin to fill with meadow plants and critters, eventually becoming a scene as busy and cheerful as a greeting card. This book begs to be touched. Each egg is made of shaped plastic that protrudes through die-cut holes on the verso; they can be pressed but seem to be securely anchored. The pastel chicks are lightly flocked, providing an additional tactile experience. Although the pages are thicker than paper, young fingers may find the holes a convenient way to grip (and possibly tear) the pages.

There is always room in the Easter basket for a counting book, and many readers may appreciate having another simple, nonreligious holiday book. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-74730-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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