A story warm in both palette and feeling.

SAMSON IN THE SNOW

A depiction of deliberate acts of kindness.

Stead’s return to familiar themes of friendship and camaraderie is refreshed by the introduction of Samson, a wooly mammoth who loves his patch of dandelions but isn’t miserly with them. When a red bird (reminiscent of the title character in Stead’s Hello, My Name Is Ruby, 2013, in size if not color) requests some to give to a friend having a bad day, he gives them gladly. But as the bird flies away, Samson wistfully wonders what it’d be like to have a friend. He falls asleep and dreams of yellow, and here Stead treats readers to the first of three wordless spreads punctuating the narrative—this one a saturated, bright yellow with starburst prints of dandelion blossoms. Samson awakens to a blizzard, worries about the red bird, and goes off to find her. “It is better to walk than to worry,” he thinks as he trudges through the snow. He finds a mouse and lifts him up onto his furry back to stay warm and snug. The mouse, too, is searching for someone, who turns out to be the small red bird. Their reunion is a joyful one, complete with a gift of dandelions to the mouse, and then Samson brings them to a cave’s dry safety to wait out the storm, together.

A story warm in both palette and feeling. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-182-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more