A lovely lesson: If at first you don’t succeed...then count on your friends to help get it right.

READ REVIEW

HEDGEHOG'S MAGIC TRICKS

In story and artwork as delicate as milkweed floss, Paul tells the story of young Hedgehog’s tribulations as a budding magician.

A little hedgehog gathers his friends—Mouse, Rabbit, Raccoon, Duckling, an unidentified creature in Bermuda shorts (possibly an Antipodean possum) and a handful of extras—for a magic show. The show consists of Hedgehog’s disappearing/reappearing act—evidently, and sadly, his strong suit. He enlists the help of his friends. Look, here is Mouse. Drape her under the handkerchief and, abracadabra! Um, look, Mouse is still here. Then he tries to make Rabbit appear out of a hat by yanking on his ears. “Ouch,” says Rabbit. Duckling decides against volunteering for the disappearing box. Hedgehog is crushed. But shortly, his friends return with a wheelbarrow. Abracadabra! From under the handkerchief a cake appears, from which Mouse jumps out. Unbeknownst to Hedgehog, who is mirthfully rolling around at Mouse’s shenanigans, the others eat the cake. “I think I made the cake disappear,” he gasps, and only the worst killjoy would contradict him. The word that pertains here is dear. The story has a sweetness that can’t be denied, and the artwork is both delicate, as if painted on bone china, and transporting: For all its etherealness, you could take a bite out of the cake.

A lovely lesson: If at first you don’t succeed...then count on your friends to help get it right. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6385-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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