Adults: get ready for your children to ask you to lie facedown in the snow at the top of a hill.

READ REVIEW

BEARS IN THE SNOW

From the Bears on Chairs series

The same four bears who puzzled out an issue with chairs (Bears on Chairs, 2009, etc.) again face the problem of where to fit four bear bottoms.

On a winter day, each of the four bears—Floppy, Fuzzy, Calico, and Yellow—pulls on a different article of winter clothing and dashes outside to play, beckoning Big Brown Bear to come too. But though the bears are small, only two of their tushies can fit on the lone red sled at a time, and it’s very hard to wait for a turn: slanted eyebrows, downturned faces, and sloping shoulders show just how hard. What if they squeeze in close? Can four fit then? Nope. In a departure from the problem-solving the little bears showed in their first outing, Big Brown Bear comes up with the solution after they have tried only the one idea. He plops down in the snow on his belly and invites them all to climb aboard. “They shriek with joy. / That hill is steep. / They land at the bottom / in a laughing heap.” Cozy mugs of hot chocolate shared together end their day. Walker’s acrylic illustrations feature soft colors against simple backgrounds, playing up the action and the characters’ emotions.

Adults: get ready for your children to ask you to lie facedown in the snow at the top of a hill. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8148-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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