Quirky, quiet, clever. Watch for more seasonal adventures from this tantalizing trio.

BROWNIE GROUNDHOG AND THE WINTRY SURPRISE

In this sequel to Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox (2011), the two pals meet a new friend, Bunny, and together, the three animals enjoy a winter celebration.

Brownie Groundhog just wants a long winter’s nap after a December picnic with her friends the fox and Bunny. The fox is bereft at the loss of Brownie’s companionship, so he visits her tree-trunk home to borrow her red scarf while she is sleeping. A comical series of misinterpreted questions from the fox and mumbled responses from Brownie ensues, and the fox loads up on all sorts of supplies from Brownie’s well-stocked cupboards to create a surprise for his beloved friend. A decorated tree outside, musical entertainment, presents and a candlelit supper appear as if by magic, all planned to astonish Brownie, who is woken by the noise. She’s cross, but she forgives the fox when she sees the “wintry surprise holiday feast.” A hip design with lots of white space and appealing illustrations using a palette of cool hues complement the snappy dialogue and clever humor. (“[D]on’t eat Bunny. She’s company.”) Each animal has its own distinct look and personality: the grumpy groundhog, the dependent, determined fox, and the cheery, polite rabbit attuned to the feelings of others.

Quirky, quiet, clever. Watch for more seasonal adventures from this tantalizing trio. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4027-9836-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more