Nicely paced, comfortably told, and not altogether predictable: a winner.

THE TIPTOEING TIGER

As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Tigers are “sleek, silent, and totally terrifying. When a tiger prowled through the forest, everyone found other places to be.” This is a fine example of Leathers’ writing: low-key, with a soupçon of drollery. Tigers are terrifying, unless, that is, you happen to be the adorably un-sleek Little Tiger. His older, bigger brother chides him: “you’re too small and clumsy to scare anyone.” Well, if tigers can throw gauntlets, Little Tiger grasps it: “I can!” he insists. “And I’ll prove it.” Now, the best way for a little tiger to scare another animal is to catch it off guard. So Little Tiger tiptoes up to Boar, but: “I could hear you coming a mile away.” And for all his tiptoeing, he fails to scare an elephant or a tree full of monkeys (“The monkeys just kept laughing”). Though a frog lazing on a lily pad looks like a likely prospect, when Little Tiger reaches the water’s edge and lets out a roar, the only one who is scared is Little Tiger…of his own reflection. Well, that’ll do, bet won. Leathers’ watercolors are clean and sweet, create a delicate forest setting, and keep the “terrifying” to readers’ imaginations.

Nicely paced, comfortably told, and not altogether predictable: a winner. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8843-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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

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