Not nearly so engaging as its subject, alas.

READ REVIEW

THE DANCING CLOCK

The fabulous musical Delacorte clock in Central Park in New York City is the subject of a snow monkey’s devotion, told in rhymed couplets.

Milo the snow monkey loves to watch and listen to the clock, on which two monkeys ring a bell and animals circle—the bear with a tambourine, the elephant with a squeezebox accordion, the hippo with the fiddle. He wants to join their dance. One day, the zookeeper leaves a gate unlocked, and Milo leaps out to sit on the bell with the monkeys and then dance with each animal figure in turn. The crowds cheer. But then Milo realizes it is cold up there, and there’s no food. Fortuitously, the zookeeper comes by, a well-placed nut toss attracts her attention and Milo is back with his buddies, “A clock can be special, but not like a friend!” It is clear from the falling russet leaves that this is autumn. Curiously, most of the brightly clad figures look more French than East Coast urban. There are hats on most of the adults and many of the children; there are scarves and hair ribbons galore on the big-eyed, sharp-nosed gentry in their plaids and polka-dots. The verse chugs along, thwacking its rhymes as it goes, which can be irritating or satisfying depending on readers’ tastes. A note “About the Dancing Clock” offers a bit more information.

Not nearly so engaging as its subject, alas. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58925-100-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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