A winner for read-alouds, whether in groups or one-on-one.

READ REVIEW

MY BEAR GRIZ

A bear of imposing presence provides safety and joy in this visually distinctive debut.

“I love bears,” opens narrator Billy, but there’s really only the one: Griz. Griz is striking, drawn in densely hatched and layered pen lines of browns and blacks, too big to fit on the page yet dominating the space. Griz has a wildness about him, an unrestrained vibe, but he never feels dangerous. Billy trusts Griz implicitly as they explore, share secrets and eat peanut-butter–and-honey sandwiches. Backgrounds are abstract, mellow watercolor, balancing the energetic lines of Griz’s fur. Billy’s enthusiastic, just-learning-to-write printing runs over the pages, crowing  “Griz loves honey!” and “Grrr! Roar!” One aspect of Griz isn’t revealed until the final page, though discerning readers may note hints of make-believe in the fancifully colored forest trees (site of hide and seek) and the fluid size ratio of boy to bear. When they nap together, Billy’s curled-up body is smaller than Griz’s muzzle; when they stargaze, Griz is tremendous in the inky night sky, his size protecting Billy—who’s dwarfed by even the width of Griz’s foreleg—from feeling lost in the universe. In contrast, on a yellow spread about joke-telling, Griz rolls over in gales of laughter, fitting completely onto the page, Billy’s height (including whimsical newsprint crown) now comparable to Griz’s head.

A winner for read-alouds, whether in groups or one-on-one. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-84780-113-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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