Quiet words combine with accurate, well-designed illustrations to create a full, lush picture book about caring and being...

CHARLES

A young child rescues a baby crow and cares for him until he flies away.

Writing in the voice of the unnamed narrator, Hume delivers a tender story about raising an abandoned baby crow. The narrator lives in a home surrounded by the natural world, brought to lush life by Bartram’s enchanting, accurate illustrations (baby crows do have blue eyes), which are done in a rich, nature-hued palette and feature simple shapes decorated with patterns found in nature—such as the spores on fern fronds. The shapes and patterns against the white space of the page thoughtfully integrate the story’s theme by bringing attention to nature’s inherent order and harmony. The child, walking in the woods, finds a nearly featherless baby crow and brings him home after it is apparent he has been abandoned. Naming him “Charles” for the sounds he makes, they feed him cereal with strawberries, which he likes. As Charles grows, he begins to fly—first to the large pine tree and then off altogether, leaving the narrator forlorn. Then, on a full-moon night days later, a crow taps at the child’s window and leaves a strawberry. The child has pale skin and long, black hair, just like their mother.

Quiet words combine with accurate, well-designed illustrations to create a full, lush picture book about caring and being close to nature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55455-416-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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