A woodsy outing for younger readers with an affinity for feathered folk.

READ REVIEW

SIX LITTLE BIRDS

As the seasons turn, six nestlings have different experiences in pop-up scenes.

The narrative, translated from the French, reads like a nursery rhyme: “Six young nuthatches fly the nest. / The first one has found the food she likes best.” Others like to sing, narrowly escape a “bird of prey,” or join a varied flock of fellow birds on a wintry perch. Within an extra-tall trim that suits the subject matter, Duisit’s tidy pop-ups include an excellent, large sunflower, neatly branched tree trunks, and birds that flit or stretch realistically. Cosneau’s stylized avians are also pleasingly neat—sometimes a little hard to make out against too-busy backdrops but usually standing out clearly enough thanks to contrasting and sometimes-flamboyant plumage. Rather than a nesting scene to bring the annual round full circle, the final double-page spread features a number of different birds pairing off as, in the foreground, the sixth nuthatch performs a courtship dance for a prospective mate. The rhyme ends, appropriately, with a suggestive ellipsis….

A woodsy outing for younger readers with an affinity for feathered folk. (Pop-up/picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-3-89955-828-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out.

THE JOY IN YOU

A parent koala encourages its child to engage in every pursuit, and so do several other animals.

The British celebrity author, host of both children’s and adult TV programs, has a very positive message to spread, but there is nothing original in the lightweight text. The many animal characters pictured in diverting, fuzzy-edged illustrations engage in various activities as the text encourages them. “You can sing! If you love to sing, sing. / Shout at the top of your lungs, or whisper soft and sweet.” On verso, a frog quartet harmonizes, while across the gutter, a lion is shown with open mouth roaring as a small bird presumably whispers. Using rhyme and alliteration but without real poetic consistency, lines such as these appear: “You can share. You can care. You can create. You can learn. / You can wonder. You can wander.” The pink flamingo creating a fantastic dessert with pineapple rings is an appealing image, and children will enjoy seeing the cuddly baby koala throughout the book as other animals step up for their showcase. The fantasy-forest setting and its animals will keep small children engaged, but the sweetness comes with a significant aftertaste of treacle. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.5% of actual size.)

The message is wholehearted and positive, but the cloying execution doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-18141-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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