A wild, rewarding ride. (Picture book. 3-6)


A race to the final pine cone leads to a great friendship.

“Spontaneous Cyril” lives in “the now and the here,” but as winter approaches, his cupboards are bare. When he spots a pine cone with the last nuts of the season, he sprints for it. But so does “Plan-Ahead Bruce,” and so the “wild, nutty” race begins. Of course, the pine cone falls. It “boing[s] over bushes…bing[s] on the nose of a slumbering bear,” and “bounce[s] over boulders” before coming to a stop, poised on the edge of a cliff. After close encounters with a pine cone–stealing bird and a waterfall, is it possible that “their nutty young hopes [might] simply end in despair?” Luckily, Cyril pulls Bruce to safety. “Bruised and bedraggled” both, Bruce and Cyril look at each other and burst into giggles over how silly they’ve been and declare a lasting friendship. Energetic word choices and funny, exciting illustrations make this a great read all the way to the clear, satisfying moral. While it’s debatable if “Cyril” and “squirrel” rhyme, the rest of the text definitely does, and it has a natural meter. Descriptive, often alliterative verb choices add to the fun. Richly colored artwork in a lively mix of compositions and perspectives captures the action of the bouncing pine cone and the squirrels’ wild water ride. Low contrast between text and background on a few pages makes prereading a must before a read-aloud.

A wild, rewarding ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53803-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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. 2, 2021

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A winning tale about finding new friends.


Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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