From the Whispers in the Forest series

This lovely book about forgiveness shows that friendship can form even in the most unlikely situations.

Deer, who has a talent for treats, tracks down a disruptive force in this Spanish import.

When his routine of collecting ingredients in the quietest part of the forest and turning them into sweet jams, cakes, and pies for a daily feast is disrupted, Deer must investigate. Who would be so rude as to run roughshod over the forest area where Deer goes every day, to break into Deer’s home, and, most egregiously, to take his Secret Recipe Book? The chef’s anxiety-inducing journey leads him to the home of Rabbit, who turns out to be a nervous, lonely creature. Even after Deer shouts at him, the pitiful rabbit still wishes he could bake like Deer so that “more people would come to see me. I thought I could be like you!” What happens next in Isern’s follow-up to The Lonely Mailman (2017) hinges on an act of kindness so perfect it would be a different kind of crime to spoil it here. As in Mailman, Montero Galán’s illustrations capture the lives of these anthropomorphic animals with warm, natural hues, whether it’s the darkening sky of sunset after a frustrating day or the winding path taken through all the neighbors’ homes by the aroma from Deer’s kitchen. Rabbit’s emotions, in particular, are heartbreaking as rendered, the huge orange eyes practically twitching off the page.

This lovely book about forgiveness shows that friendship can form even in the most unlikely situations. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 97884-16733-92-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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