Those who appreciated Caparo’s illustrations in the original edition will also like this sequel and will probably overlook...

RUDOLPH SHINES AGAIN

In this sequel to the original story about the famous reindeer with a glowing red nose, Rudolph loses his special power and then gains it back after helping find two lost bunnies.

In the month before Christmas, Rudolph suffers a crisis of confidence and loses the red glow that has made him the leader of Santa’s reindeer team. He worries and whines, concentrating on his loss, finally deciding to run away and find a new home in a different country. Deep in a forest at night, he finds a group of distressed rabbits who have lost two of their babies. Rudolph helps them, finding bunnies Donnie and Doris, and in focusing on the troubles of others, he regains his confidence as well as the glow on his nose. He flies home in time for Christmas Eve deliveries, including a special package dropped from Santa’s sleigh for his new rabbit friends. Caparo’s handsome illustrations in an oversize format are in the same style as his work in the recent edition of the original story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (2014). The color palette focuses on deep midnight blues with swirls of pink sparkles around Santa and the reindeer symbolizing their magical powers. The long, rhyming text, however, is dated in tone and has a grating, singsong quality and some rhymes that fall flat. It’s unfortunate that the text is not of the same quality as the illustrations, design, and high-quality paper.

Those who appreciated Caparo’s illustrations in the original edition will also like this sequel and will probably overlook the unsuccessful story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7499-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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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Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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