Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers.

MY BEST FRIEND

An owl and a mouse are really close friends—kind of.

Mouse and Giant Owl have lived together ever since Giant Owl caught Mouse—er, brought Mouse to the tree, where Giant Owl is generous with the doughnuts. The thing is, while Mouse appreciates the friendship, some alone time would occasionally be nice, yet Giant Owl seems always to be around. Mouse reasons this is “because Giant Owl loves me so much.” It must be why Giant Owl gives great birthday gifts like a house (read: cage) equipped with its own lock, whose key Giant Owl carefully holds onto. Then, after a sleepover, Mouse wakes up in an unidentifiable, dark, round space. Giant Owl’s nowhere to be seen—by Mouse, that is. However, hilarious illustrations show readers exactly where Giant Owl is and what’s going on. Giant Owl’s on a branch, battling severe dyspepsia and making wretched gastrointestinal noises before letting out an otherworldly belch (printed in oversized type that takes up a page). As a result, Mouse blasts out of Giant Owl’s roiling innards and, still clueless, thanks Giant Owl for the rescue. This riotous tale is truly a hoot, owl or no. The wittily dry narration, simply expressed in Mouse’s sweetly naïve voice, is comically adorable, and the colorful, very expressive mixed-media illustrations serve the rollicking shenanigans perfectly.

Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4834-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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