Preschoolers are sure to enjoy this cozy story and cheer for Owlet when he is finally “Safe with his family, snug in his...

READ REVIEW

OWLET'S FIRST FLIGHT

Nighttime can be scary, especially for a young owl on his first flight. But as many children learn, most fears are often not what they seem.

Simple rhyming text describes owlet’s initial reluctance to fly, his mama’s firm encouragement and the resulting nocturnal adventure. “A dip, a drop, but now he’s steady. / Fly, little Owlet, tonight you are ready!” A wordless double-page spread follows, showing an owl-eye view of the dark landscape he is about to explore. Thankfully, frightening shadows are only tree branches, and a popping sound turns out to be acorns falling onto a barn roof. Modarressi’s (Taking Care of Mama, 2010) talent with watercolors elevates this sweet bedtime tale above the many titles of this ilk. Owlet’s eyes convey his every emotion—worry, fear, surprise, relief and joy. Skillful layering of color conveys the bird’s swooping movements, while sharply drawn details of the creatures contrast nicely with the softer natural backgrounds, including the sky that ranges from inky blue to purplish pink.

Preschoolers are sure to enjoy this cozy story and cheer for Owlet when he is finally “Safe with his family, snug in his nest”—which, sweetly, is heart-shaped. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25526-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration.

TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND

How will you behave tomorrow?

Utilizing the same format and concept of her popular Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave (2018), Hische presents young listeners with short, studied rhymes that describe various positive attributes (being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, graceful, and kind). Also included are kid-friendly ways to incorporate these behaviors into daily life, with the underlying goal of making the world a better place. The illustrations, which feature friends in the forms of a mouse, cat, and rabbit, are colorful and appealing, and they extend the text by showing some additional ways of realizing the characteristics mentioned. Overall, the intentions are aboveboard, but this is a volume intended to teach about positive values and behavior, and as such, it comes across as somewhat treacly and proselytizing. The key words, incorporated into the illustrations in a graphic manner, are sometimes a bit difficult to read, and occasionally, select vocabulary and phrases (“to myself I will be true”; “my heart, my guiding light”) seem better suited for an older readership. Still, as an introduction to personality characteristics, beneficial behaviors, and social-emotional skills, this is a solid choice, and fans of the previous volume are likely to embrace this one as well. “I’ll dream of all the good that comes / when we all just do our best,” the text explains—a sentiment that’s hard to rebut.

Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8704-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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