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THE BEAR IN THE BOAT

Rain is a mild threat in this tale that emphasizes neighborliness over thrills.

A helping hand results in a boatload of friendship for four animals.

With a smile on her face, Bear leaves her cozy home in the midst of a steady rainfall. She stops by Squirrel’s tree to deliver a basket of food; Squirrel’s larder was lost in the rain. Ever helpful Bear then helps Hedgehog, Mouse, and Rabbit, whose homes are threatened by the rising waters. Now, safe in her home, Bear enjoys a hot drink and cookies—but not for long. Rabbit and Mouse come knocking at her door, overwhelmed by all the water. Hedgehog appears shortly after. Bear is most hospitable until her home, too, is in danger. To the boat! Their combined strength finally launches it, but what to do about food? Not to worry, for Squirrel comes drifting along with that basket of food. The rain ends, but the friendships have just begun. Colorful cartoon illustrations present full-page bucolic scenes, with the rain stopping short of being scary. (It looks so benign, coming down in big fat drops, that readers may wonder at the urgent tone.) Bear and her crew are cuddly and smiley. Pedler maintains (more or less) a sense of scale, and in some spreads, readers will have a hard time finding the smaller animals, but her cozy woodland homes are just cunning, especially Bear’s wisteria-draped cottage.

Rain is a mild threat in this tale that emphasizes neighborliness over thrills. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-249-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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