GOOD NIGHT, BAT! GOOD MORNING, SQUIRREL!

Odd-couple stories are far from an endangered species, but this one’s worth making room for.

Homeless Bat moves in, unannounced, with Squirrel. Can this odd couple live together in peace?

When Bat loses his home, he first tries an attic full of bats, who are too crowded to accept him. The fox, the skunk, and a nest of birds all turn him down as well. And he can’t quite fit under a large mushroom. Then Bat notices a bunch of leaves lodged in a tree, with a small opening. Inside, he finds a cozy place to sleep. (He doesn’t even notice Squirrel sleeping soundly nearby.) When Squirrel wakes up, she’s startled to see a sleeping bat hanging from her ceiling, so fast asleep he can’t be woken. Squirrel leaves a polite note, drawn in pencil on a big brown leaf, before she sets off to hide acorns. Bat’s written answer is equally polite. But, given the nature of their respective sleep cycles, the two don't see each other for days. More notes follow; when Squirrel writes a note telling Bat to leave, Bat responds by adding more “leaves” to the cozy home. It takes a while, but Squirrel finally realizes she wants a friend, and Bat’s happy to be that. Meisel’s plot moves in appealing increments, stressing the importance not only of friendship, but also of courtesy; the epistolary relationship is an added bonus. His rich palette and expressively drawn animals add warmth to an important message.

Odd-couple stories are far from an endangered species, but this one’s worth making room for. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-495-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

I LOVE YOU, MY LITTLE DINOSAUR

A SWEET, SELF-ESTEEM PICTURE BOOK FOR KIDS!

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.”

The cover’s glowing golden stars are but a small hint of the parent-child love inside.

In this companion book to the creators’ I Love You, My Little Unicorn (2022), a world full of digitally created dinosaurs illustrated in eye-catching colors dominates the pages. From the start, it’s clear that dinosaur parents have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring that human parents do. Readers don’t have to be dinosaur fans to smile when the parent-and-child dinosaur pairs playfully interact and share loving glances. Take special note of the ankylosauruses, whose tails arc to form a heart beneath a sky filled with heart-shaped clouds. The text in verse shares words of unconditional parental love and support and wisdom (“please remember all these things / that I want you to know”), appropriate for humans and dinos alike. “Roar with all your might!” “Spread your wings and fly.” “Use your voice, and ask for help.” There’s even a caveat that some “days will be dark / and other shades of gray.” But “there’s always brightness up ahead.” While the loving sentiments in the storytelling are clear, words are sometimes inverted to make the rhyme work, and the verse doesn’t always follow a consistent meter, but prereading will let the story shine during quiet snuggle times.

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728268361

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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