A sweetly balanced affirmation of the child’s right to space.

READ REVIEW

MY VERY OWN SPACE

After finally succeeding in getting some privacy for reading, a little rabbit learns about balancing isolation and socialization.

Although the cinnamon-brown bunny in a red turtleneck sweater is admirably gender-neutral throughout the text, the book cover ascribes it a male pronoun and the name Jack. Regardless, the uncomplicated text and the humorous art combine to create a story appealing to all. The layout consists of pure white, double-page spreads, filled with brightly contrasting rabbits. In the first spread, 21 comical, anthropomorphic rabbits do such things as dance ballet, leap, play musical instruments, and kick a soccer ball. The red-sweatered bunny is trying to read a book, the slyly titled Space Bunny. Large print announces the bunny’s cross plaint over the general mayhem: “SHUSH! I want to look at my book!” Taking matters in paw, the bunny uses a red marker to draw a circle for privacy, eventually leading to two particularly engaging sequences of art: one documenting the physical process of settling in to read a book and one showing the bunny’s imagination taking off with space creatures. A smaller, beige rabbit in a blue dress—possibly the protagonist’s little sibling—crosses the line at a perfect time: the reader is feeling more than ready to leave solitary confinement and rejoin the other rabbits.

A sweetly balanced affirmation of the child’s right to space. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-12-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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