Guaranteed to give emerging readers a buzz.

LET'S PLAY MAKE BEE-LIEVE

From the Bumble and Bee series , Vol. 2

Who’d bee-lieve hanging with bees could be fun?

Froggy thinks differently. Though a neighbor of Bumble and Bee, Froggy would rather read in the pond and stay out of their games. Somehow, though, the amphibian gets roped in. Take guess-the-animal. While the apian duo demonstrates ineptitude at figuring out what creature each pretends to be(e)—though it’s clearly obvious to readers—Froggy attends to reading. Or tries to—hopeless glances at readers are priceless until, exasperated, Froggy butts in with the answers. Before long, Froggy enters the game and, due to an unexpected visitor the bees notice but Froggy doesn’t, they guess Froggy’s “identity” immediately. The other stories in this small graphic early reader, just the right size for little hands, are equally comical. A pirate game with the bees rewards Froggy with the “sweetest treasure in the world,” though, sadly, not of the sugar-laden, high-calorie kind. In the final story, the bees’ confused hide-and-seek session finally brings Froggy peaceful reading time. This rollicking collection, presented comics style and with dialogue set mostly in speech balloons, will have readers forgetting any fears of bees and eager to join these quirky friends. Simple language and sweet, expressive, humorous illustrations that work perfectly with the text will have children giggling and enjoying reading success.

Guaranteed to give emerging readers a buzz. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-50525-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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