Serviceable and forgettable

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HALF-PINT PETE THE PIRATE

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of zzzzzz.

Half-Pint Pete sails the Seven Seas in search of treasure. Trouble is, Pete only has half a map to his name. When he comes in contact with the equally piratical Half-Baked Belle, a lass in possession of the map’s missing parts, the two decide to team up and find the treasure together. Pete’s plan to do away with Belle after the gold is uncovered flies out the window when the mission ends successfully and Pete discovers that the two of them make a perfect pair. Bardhan-Quallen presents a perfunctory, if well-scanned, series of alternating rhymes. Children with either a love or a fear of grungy pirates will find that this uniformly cheery, peg-legged crew are a far cry from the murderous plunderers of lore. The art is of a bit more interest. Brazilian illustrator Valério takes care to hide sly details in his colorful, preschool-friendly acrylics (though one wonders why precisely Valério absolutely had to make Pirate Belle so very pink, right down to her rose-colored eye patch). There are many pirate books out there that would best this one in terms of writing, art and general lawless glee, but this meets all the general requirements of an innocuous pirate tale for younger children. 

Serviceable and forgettable . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25173-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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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This pair of Spanish friends should find fans in the States. (Picture book. 3-5)

THE SCARY WIND

From the Hedgehog and Rabbit series

Are those swirling leaves…or a monster!?

Rabbit is eating cabbages in the garden while, nearby, Hedgehog searches for snails. A sudden wind comes up, stirring the colorful leaves, causing them to swirl in the air. Frightened, Rabbit screams and hides in a hollow log; Hedgehog follows him to find out what’s wrong. Shivering, Rabbit declares that there’s a big howling monster after them. When leaves blow into their hiding place, both animals panic and flee in opposite directions. After some running, both Rabbit and Hedgehog feel bad for leaving a friend alone with the scary beast and decide to return to help. Rabbit first adopts a disguise, smearing himself with mud and tying two branches onto his head to look like horns. Hedgehog rolls in a pile of colorful leaves and picks up two sticks to look like claws. When the two friends confront each other, they are scared all over again and run away…all over again. The running itself makes the disguises blow away, and before long the friends are reunited, eating in the garden as the wind continues to blow. Storyteller Albo offers straightforwardly simple silliness for the very young, who should love the heightened emotions and the repetition. Gómez makes both Rabbit and Hedgehog highly expressive; most compositions are uncluttered, and tiny details will keep children engaged. Series companion The Stubborn Cloud publishes simultaneously.

This pair of Spanish friends should find fans in the States. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945971-7-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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