Alive with modest wonder—a treasure.

LITTLE BEAR'S TREASURES

An animal finds humble treasures.

Little Bear adores his treasures, which are unpretentious (“a shiny button, tickly feathers”), full of potential (“a cozy hiding place” inside an inkily hollow tree), and slightly cryptic (“a soft cloud” that could only be the indistinct one hovering faraway in the sky). Little Bear waltzes joyfully by a “bush brimming with blueberries” (it’s his appreciation that brims: The blueberries are actually pretty sparse) and smiles to have “endless dust to dance in.” Backgrounds are soft pastels in round shapes with gently sparkling texture, nested in calm white space. Fine black lines sketch animals’ outlines and expressions. A haughty donkey, an irritated squirrel, a rushing rabbit with a watch (nod to Lewis Carroll?), and a fowl with a feather duster belittle the treasures—“They’re just junk”—hurting Little Bear’s feelings. Luckily, another creature arrives to share his pleasure. Little Bear and Little Bird, who look a bit alike, float in a “tree-bark boat” and make “thinking hats” from burrs as their path wafts toward magic. Whence the “glittering fish” they encounter with no water in sight? Where is the “mysterious fog,” made of downy grays and obscured plants, into which they gaze? Their silent, blissful ending involves snow or stardust, their transformation—a subtle but undeniable change in body silhouette shape—might be imagination, dream, or a returning.

Alive with modest wonder—a treasure. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77164-653-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more