Food for thought, though the portions are larger and tastier elsewhere.

IT'S MY TREE

A meditation on the perils of possessiveness.

In what is not so much a story as an open-ended discussion starter, a solitary squirrel stakes a claim—“It’s MY tree and these are MY pinecones”—and then whirls off on a round of imaginary what-ifs. Having first contemplated the prospect of being challenged for ownership and then the notion that there just might be enough shade and pine cones to share (“But we all know where that kind of thinking leads”), the squirrel proceeds to envision ways to reinforce its property rights…maybe by building a wall (nothing topical to see here, oh no). In the illustrations, the bucolic setting is transformed into a mental landscape dominated by a towering wall that stretches off into the distance to leave squirrel and tree alone in stark isolation. Thinking that there might be more trees or bigger pine cones to claim on the other side, the squirrel scampers to the top of the wall—and in a wordless final scene is left staring at a crowded woodland aswarm with other squirrels. Readers may be left feeling cast adrift, particularly as the plotline comes off as, at best, thin next to flavorsome explorations of the theme like Jeff Mack’s Mine! (2017), Alex Willmore’s It’s My Sausage (2020), or Tallec’s own (as illustrator) How Selfish! written by Clare Helen Welsh (2020). (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 42% of actual size.)

Food for thought, though the portions are larger and tastier elsewhere. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0547-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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