This German import (by way of Scotland) is sweet as tea cakes.


From the Evie the Strawberry Fairy series , Vol. 3

Something is amiss in Berry Woods!

Evie the Strawberry Fairy’s magic wand has gone missing, and then Evie notices her strawberries have turned bright blue. This latter occurrence is the titular “strawberry surprise,” and Evie is curious but not alarmed. The same can’t be said of three friends—an unnamed hedgehog, Summer the Sunshine Fairy, and Laurel the Tree Sprite—who all come to Evie voicing fears about “a scary Hogwitchit [who] has moved into Berry Woods.” Summer is fearful after seeing a strange shadow, Laurel’s hair is stained orange, and the hedgehog has red splotches all over his quills. Resourceful Evie packs a bag with supplies that end up coming in handy when she and her friends go off in search of the Hogwitchit. Lo and behold, it’s actually a vole who prides himself on his berry jam. They quickly discover that the vole mistook Evie’s magic wand for a spoon and has been using it to try to make jam, and this mix-up explains all the strange surprises and changes the friends have experienced. Evie quickly puts things to rights and gifts the vole a trowel he can use as a spoon. Everyone enjoys jam cookies at book’s end. Dahle’s illustrations are as cozy as her story, the interiors of these woodland homes snug melds of nature and found human objects. The animals are lightly anthropomorphized; humanoid characters present White.

This German import (by way of Scotland) is sweet as tea cakes. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78250-638-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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


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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