Pure fun; readers and preschoolers will applaud both the silliness and practicalities presented.

NOT NOW, COW

Animal friends on the farm are ready to enjoy the pleasures of each new season—but Cow displays confusion over what is expected.

In a double-page spread before the title page, an excited Rooster crows, “SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!” Spring is announced immediately after the title page, and readers see Duck watering her newly emerged sprouts, Sheep flying a kite, and Goat enjoying the spring showers. Cow, however, appears dressed in mittens, a heavy scarf, and hat. “Oh Cow. Not now,” says Rooster. Summer arrives, and with it swimming, beach play, and ice cream cones, but Cow is ready with a sled, snow boots, and heavy sweater. And again Rooster tells her, “Oh Cow. Not now.” Amusing illustrations in bold colors reflect each season’s attributes while the succinct and simple rhyming text details the animals’ activities. The fall scenario shows orange and brown leaves falling with Horse raking, Chick munching on an apple, and Sheep carving a pumpkin: “Horse is ready. / Builds a pile. / Chick is ready. / Snacks awhile. // Sheep is ready. / Adds a smile.” But a parka-clad Cow is set on skiing. Rooster: “Oh, Cow. Just…wow.” When, in winter, Cow shows up in a bathing suit and flippers, her exasperated friends finally tell her, “We need to talk.” Readers might wonder whether Cow is just innocently clueless or expressing her individualism. Kids will nevertheless be eager to repeat the refrain, the predictable structure of the page turns and pacing expertly cuing them. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 61.9% of actual size.)

Pure fun; readers and preschoolers will applaud both the silliness and practicalities presented. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4629-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine.

THE FRIEND SHIP

All the animals are welcome to come aboard.

Hedgehog seems very lonely, “curled up in a prickly little ball in a lonely little nook of a lonely little tree.” When she overhears a sympathetic conversation about friendship “out there,” she perks up, picturing a beautiful “Friend Ship.” Hedgehog sets sail with a curious beaver in a small boat to find it. Before long, the duo spots a herd of migrating deer on the shore. Hedgehog asks if they’ve seen the Friend Ship; all reply that they could use a friend and hop aboard. Next, the company spies a rat, who asks to join them. They sail in multiple directions to no avail. Hedgehog begins to lose hope, but her companions convince her to persist. She spots a small island, its only resident an elephant. Hedgehog swims the distance and asks the elephant about the Friend Ship. The elephant points at Hedgehog’s small boat full of animals and asks, “Isn’t that it—right over there?” It’s a lightning-bolt moment. Hedgehog invites the elephant aboard, and they sail west, celebrating all the while…into the sunset together. Yeh makes effective use of dialogue and repetition, investing her characters with personality with just a few lines. Groenink employs sunny, warm hues that increase in saturation as the boat fills and Hedgehog becomes surrounded by friends.

A sweet, simple story with a nicely offbeat heroine. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-0726-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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