A zany read-aloud book for the youngest of diners.

READ REVIEW

THERE'S A GIRAFFE IN MY SOUP

Lively and quirky, Burach’s first picture-book outing aims to send kids into fits of giggles.

A little boy pops into a restaurant expecting a delicious bowl of tomato soup. Instead, he encounters a whole zoo-ful of animals in his soup. Hilarity ensues. First, a bowl with a gangly giraffe arrives at his table. This is followed by an alligator with an appetite for children and then a host of animals including a drowning elephant, a sleeping koala, and, ultimately, a massive blue whale. Giving up on soup, the boy decides to go straight to dessert. Alas, the waiter can’t get that right either! While the dialogue is succinct and simple, attempts at wordplay are more contrived than clever. “ ‘YAK! YAK! YAK!’ ‘Yuck? Yuck? Yuck? / Oh. YAK. Yuck.’ ” Later, the waiter thinks the boy is accusing him of lying when he’s warning him about a lion. However, Burach’s illustrations more than make up for this shortfall. Dynamic angles and multiple points of view ensure that the colorful characters leap off the stark white pages. Double-page spreads emphasize size and heft. Amusing facial expressions animate the characters, and googly eyes and rosy cheeks make even normally scary creatures seem cute and docile. Plus, brilliant use of the front endpapers starts the story with an unexpected prologue.

A zany read-aloud book for the youngest of diners. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-236014-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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