Despite the gimmick, likely to draw no more than flecks of interest from either truck fans or muck fans.

BEAR'S TRUCK IS STUCK!

From the Amazing Changing Pictures series

Can anyone help Billy Bear get his truck out of the deep mud?

No question about it, Billy’s truck is thoroughly mired—“The big wheels turn and spray and churn / in the thick and gloopy muck.” But the rhyme seems to be driving the plot rather than the other way round. Following a comical but random scramble in which a gaggle of eager sheep drives a tractor into the adjacent pond and Clara Cow tumbles down the hill with the farmer’s rake, all the animals get together to “push and pull,” “lug and tug” (pushing is all that’s going on in the art, though) until “the truck’s unstuck!” Despite lots of spattered mud in Truong’s neatly drawn pictures, somehow none of it sticks to either the truck or any of the animals except (sometimes) the pig. Moreover, four leaves feature framed dissolves that transform the cartoon scene when the cover or a large flap is lifted open, but the moving parts are so poorly integrated with the illustrations that odd fragments are left hanging on most of the tabs. As for the storyline, pull out Marie Hall Ets’ classic Elephant in a Well (1972) or any version of “The Great Big Enormous Turnip” for a better telling.

Despite the gimmick, likely to draw no more than flecks of interest from either truck fans or muck fans. (Pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68010-001-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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