Winningly sweet.

READ REVIEW

SLEEPOVER WITH BEATRICE AND BEAR

In a gentle tale for the very young, a rabbit named Beatrice finds an ingenious way to share winter with her hibernating best friend, Bear.

The first sentence, appearing over a winsome bear sitting in a carrot patch, announces, “Beatrice and Bear met on a clear spring day.” Little readers will squeal with delight when they comprehend the next page, which says, with great understatement, “They did not get off to a good start.” Bear looks down at an irate rabbit vainly trying to shift Bear’s large bottom off the squashed carrot plants. But the relationship improves. The story of their blossoming friendship continues, with sweet-faced Beatrice and Bear engaging in all sorts of human activities throughout spring, summer and fall. Beatrice’s naïveté will evoke chuckles when, after a friendly squirrel kindly explains that “hibernation” is not a place, Beatrice jumps to the conclusion that it’s a sleepover and rushes to “hibernate” with Bear. Very funny pictures, including one of Beatrice wearing a sleep mask, illustrate her inability to join Bear’s deep sleep. The squirrel again comes to Beatrice’s aid, helping her arrive at a “brilliant idea” (begging the question of why the squirrel cannot be a third, named friend). The illustrations are simple cartoons with watercolor washes, and they skillfully convey both the many anthropomorphic touches, such as Beatrice’s carrot-decorated blanket, and a subtle range of emotions on the best friends’ faces.

Winningly sweet. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25667-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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