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THE LITTLE WOLVES

A quiet interlude of innocence.

Little wolf cubs venture into the forest while their mother is away.

First published in German in Switzerland and now translated into English, this innocent story follows the classic home-away-home formula. Four small wolf cubs venture outside of their cave one night while their mother is away hunting. (This atypical family unit—wolf packs are usually father, mother, older siblings, and youngest littermates—is not explained.) The cubs are entranced by the forest smells and sounds and venture further, traveling throughout the following day and into the next night. Small activities occur: They see their reflections in a pond, startling them, hear an owl, which enchants them, and, in an odd segue, run away from a sleeping hunter. The magic of the story, though, is not in its modest action but in Herrmann’s lovely lyrical language, which ambles along generously (this is not a concise narrative), and, most especially, in Wilkoń’s viscerally empathetic illustrations. His use of warm, rich colors and amorphous shapes brings a sense of life and atmosphere to the whole even as they evoke in the renderings of the cubs a childlike wonder and innocence. While the book’s design is uneventful—text on white paper on verso, full-page illustrations on recto—and the ending lacks pizazz, there is an overall endearingly soothing and comfortable quality to this tale.

A quiet interlude of innocence. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4397-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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  • New York Times Bestseller


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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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