BUGS GALORE

A veritable swarm of adjectives, opposites and, ew, bugs.

The author/illustrator duo behind Cars Galore (2011) turns its attention to creepy-crawly, multi-legged friends. With a jaunty lilt and playful exaggeration, the rhythmic text contains plenty of fun: “Spider creeping … / scary. Gross. / Lurking … leaping! / Don’t get close!” Bees, lice, beetles and bedbugs all get their due; even that weird, unidentifiable bug (“Hairy, scary— / what was THAT bug?”) has a turn to shine. Staake’s familiar, rotund characters are surrounded by bugs of all colors, shapes, patterns and sizes. The frenetic insect-and-arachnid infestation sometimes overwhelms the design, but it pairs well with the jumbling, tumbling bounce of the text. Besides seeking out individual critters described on each page, readers will have no shortage of other creepy-crawlies to find and examine. (The extras are a peak into Staake’s imagination—checkered thoraxes, striped, pointed noses, and oh, so many legs.) Stein ends the menagerie on a contemplative note: “Bug, so secret / are you wise? / Gazing out through / all those eyes? / What exactly / do you see? / I see you … // Do you see me?” Wistful, yet not likely to prevent the next squish.

Squirmy and educational. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4754-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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