The Guess How Much I Love You franchise sets a low bar for its knockoff sequels.
Seeing dark clouds gather, Little Nutbrown Hare, Little Field Mouse, Little Grey Squirrel and Little Redwood Fox (who is, evidently, not very hungry) join Big Nutbrown Hare in a cave, then venture out after the storm to splash about and see a rainbow. The soft, intimate texture of the art in the original stories is gone, replaced by hard-edged, less finely drawn details and creatures depicted with generic postures and expressions. The animal figures are mechanically superimposed into the scenes in the manner of an animated cartoon and so float over the background meadows rather than run through them and stand atop rather than in the solid-looking puddles. With similar disregard for production values, in the co-published Snow Magic, Big and Little Nutbrown watch snow fall from a slightly misted moonlit sky, then with Little Field Mouse gambol over the drifts without appearing to touch them. In this second episode, Little Nutbrown’s mild character undergoes a sudden alteration as well: “[He] gave a crafty smile as he kicked his ball with another mighty kick. ‘Race you!’ ”
These are spinoffs from a TV series that is itself a spinoff. Not surprisingly, the dilution of both visual and literary quality goes beyond atrocious. (Picture book. 4-6)