Unsatisfying.

READ REVIEW

THE VERY HUNGRY HEDGEHOG

Poor Isaac the hedgehog is famished after his long winter sleep.

Noisy Starling awakens Isaac at the start of spring, and he’s immediately tempted by her breakfast of a worm. But Starling laughs at him because she thinks he’s having a “bad hair day.” The hedgehog’s feelings are hurt, and things only worsen when he ventures forth to find food, since Starling was too busy mocking him to share. Readers will note that he’s oblivious to a fox, unmentioned in the text but depicted stalking Isaac across a spread and then lurking about as Isaac encounters Toad and Heron, who both thwart his efforts to get a meal. The seemingly watercolor-and-ink illustrations provide visual interest as they add humor and extend the verbal narrative, which unfortunately lacks cohesion. Just when Isaac’s fortunes seem to be changing with the sighting of an earwig (“Best breakfast of all!”), the lurking fox pounces and tries to make a meal of him. But that bad hair day ends up saving Isaac’s skin since it wasn’t caused by bed head but spiky quills that the fox isn’t keen on ingesting. Somehow emboldened by this brush with death, Isaac tells the fox that there’s plenty of food for all. Huh? Starling also returns with an offering and an apology, adding another layer to a rushed conclusion.

Unsatisfying. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84365-353-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pavilion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more