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THE LITTLE KITTEN

From the My Little Animal Friend series

Lucky kitten, lucky readers: a sweet, special Halloween story.

Cats and loving homes make for a perfect fall or anytime story.

On an autumn morning, cat-suited Ollie goes outside to play with her cat, Pumpkin. Just as she’s about to jump into a pile of leaves, the wind blows them everywhere. Hiding underneath is a small, shivering kitten, whom Ollie picks up. She, Pumpkin, and the newcomer play, then rest. When the kitten wants to resume frolicking, Ollie runs into the woods with him, forgetting sleeping Pumpkin. Posters on trees tell Ollie that someone’s lost the kitten. Suddenly, another gust of wind reveals a hidden path that leads the little kitten safely home. Tearfully, Ollie now remembers Pumpkin but is herself lost. All ends extremely well, however, and a marvelous surprise conclusion results in happiness for all on this very special night that only sharp-eyed observers might have seen coming—and an unexpected gift the next morning! The simplest of premises brings great rewards in this sweet, heartwarming charmer, narrated with economic, beautiful language. Matching the lovely story is simple, pleasing art, presented in a palette of shades of gray and orange, black, and white. Adding magic to the simple scenes are flashes of shiny orange foil in some illustrations and on the dust jacket. Cutouts on a few pages open up clever new perspectives on following pages. Ollie presents White.

Lucky kitten, lucky readers: a sweet, special Halloween story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6696-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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