Another satisfying domestic drama from veteran author Hughes, this will please old fans and make new ones.

READ REVIEW

BOBBO GOES TO SCHOOL

The plot is a familiar one: A young child and her favorite stuffed friend are separated and then joyously reunited.

Hughes makes her story fresh by endowing her inanimate hero with just a pinch of emotion and awareness while still retaining a realistic tone. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Lily, the round-cheeked, tousle-haired little girl who appeared previously in Don’t Want to Go (2010), is immediately recognizable as a typical preschooler—and utterly adorable. Bored and just a bit fractious, Lily noodles around, disrupting her mom’s chores and even practicing a bit of passive resistance by going limp when it’s time to leave the house. Once outside, it’s Lily’s casual toss of her stuffed dog Bobbo that lands him on top of a school bus and off on an adventure. While the events are nothing terribly out of the ordinary, Hughes’ pitch-perfect text captures the minimelodrama of loss, remorse, regret and blissful reunion sparked by Lily’s actions. Bobbo, meanwhile, enjoys the feeling of flying like a bird and the experience of being fussed over by a classroom full of kids once he’s found. As always, Hughes’ facility with facial expressions makes her characters especially appealing, with Bobbo in particular benefiting from wide-open eyes and a sweet smile.

Another satisfying domestic drama from veteran author Hughes, this will please old fans and make new ones. (Picture book. 3 to 6)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-07636-6524-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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