The message appears to be the treats are best when shared, which makes Red Panda’s attempt at entrepreneurship all the odder.

RED PANDA'S CANDY APPLES

Who can resist candy apples? Not Red Panda.

The animals from Hedgehog’s Magic Tricks (2013) return for a new adventure, this time featuring Red Panda. He’s selling candy apples that he made himself. Rabbit is his first customer, but Red Panda is sad to give the apple to him as he realizes he’d rather eat it himself. Selling candy apples is not as much fun as eating them, it seems. Hedgehog is next, choosing Red Panda’s favorite. Mouse is next. With his coin jar filling up, Red Panda treats himself. “Lick, crackle, crunch.” Now only one candy apple is left for sale, but Duckling and Bushbaby each want one. Luckily, Red Panda has stashed another one for himself, so everybody gets an apple. In a real breach of the author-reader contract, this last apple appears only when Paul needs it. Although red pandas and bushbabies are likely to be new to most North American children, they likely won’t care, as details in the illustrations flavor the story. Reddish crumbs are stuck on whiskers, and animal friends are dressed in clothing, with the white mouse in a pink tutu and Red Panda in red plaid pants. Despite the sweet flair of the pencil-and-digital artwork, though, the story doesn’t have much bite to it.

The message appears to be the treats are best when shared, which makes Red Panda’s attempt at entrepreneurship all the odder. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6758-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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