A DAY FOR SKATING

This winter sports portrayal is a fine and attractive addition to the season’s preschool collection.

A child and their parent enjoy a wintry skating outing while other skaters of varying degrees of ability and expertise surround them.

When the child takes a few skating steps, slides, turns, and promptly falls, the parent moves in to help and gently assure that falling is part of learning. A break taken in the snack-bar hut provides warmth, hot cocoa, and sandwiches. Later, another whirl around the pond together comes to a close with skates coming off and a ride home to a bath and cozy bedtime routine. The lively, brief rhyming text outlines the story’s sequence as it depicts the adjoining scenes. “Good friends gliding in a row. / Holding on and letting go. // Hockey sticks go clatter-clack. / Figure skaters stay on track. // Couples waltz. Children race / Happy people. Happy place.” Lovely drawings with simple details, done digitally and using watercolors and colored pencil, move the verse from a brisk, snow-covered day scene to the deeper purple hues of a winter dusk and a final, deeper blue when nighttime creatures enjoy the frozen pond. Though the protagonist and parent present white, multiracial representation is evident throughout the skating community.

This winter sports portrayal is a fine and attractive addition to the season’s preschool collection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9686-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

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. 1, 2021

BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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