YOUR OWN BIG BED

A little boy’s birth and growth proceeds parallel to that of several animals on the farm and in the wild. Baby chick, baby alligator and baby sea turtle all grow too big for their shells, just as the little boy grows too big for his mother’s tummy: “Soon they all came out— / and so did you!” His parents carry the little boy everywhere, just like little koala bear, baby kangaroo and tiger cub. First steps are followed by sleep, each in habitat or crib. But when the little boy grows even bigger, as marked against the ruled wall, a new big bed awaits, similar to the new stall for a foal and the doghouse for a puppy. Bergstein’s juxtaposition of animal behavior against human adds both comfort and acknowledgement of a little one’s movement from the familiar to the new. Hartung’s softly iridescent paintings add depth to the simple text in their depictions of animals and boy, each childhood milestone gently marked. A nice, if not startlingly new, addition to the genre. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-670-06079-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF

In this entry in the Growing Tree series, the publisher copyrights the text, while Carpenter provides illustrations for the story; here, the three billy goats named Gruff play on a nasty troll’s greed to get where the grass is greenest. Logic has never been the long suit of this tale: Instead of letting the two smaller billy goats be terrorized by the mean and ugly troll, children wonder, why doesn’t the biggest billy goat step in sooner? It’s still a good introduction to comparatives, and the repetitiveness of the story invites participation. The artwork matches the story: The characters are suitably menacing, quivering, or stalwart, and the perspectives allow readers to be right there in the thick of the action. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-694-01033-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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HOW KIND!

Good deeds beget good deeds in this graphically bold and bright celebration of benevolence. Hen gives Pig an egg, a kindness that inspires him to give a carrot to Rabbit, who in turn picks flowers for Cow, and so on until Pig returns the initial favor by presenting Hen with a chick—hatched from her original egg. The clever turn of events leaves readers wondering if Hen has hornswoggled Pig into doing the work of hatching her egg, or if she is simply thanking him for the gift? The youngest readers and listeners will not be distracted by such concerns and will enjoy shouting out “How kind!” as it’s repeated throughout the text; they may also be inspired to emulate the animals and take turns doing one another kindnesses. Electric pink, sky blue, yellow, orange, purple, and tennis-ball-green ink-and-wash illustrations outlined in heavy black add to the cheer and are complemented by the loose yet readable typeface, created by and named for Murphy (Koala and the Flower, not reviewed, etc.). For just plain storytime fun or for introducing the concept of karma, this is a winner. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1732-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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