Just the ticket for a little bit of learning on a cold winter day when spring seems far away.


Little ones can explore spring and their five senses along with bunny Hoppy in Hopgood’s latest concept book.

The story itself is very simple: Hoppy is waiting for spring, and each day, tests the sights, smells and feelings from the top of his burrow. “Too cold” and “too icy” are followed by a beautiful spring day, with birdsong, the scent of flowers, lambs in the meadow, the taste of fresh grass and the warmth of the ground. And do not forget the joys of sharing all these wonderful spring harbingers with friends. It will be hard for readers to remain unmoved in the presence of the energetic and life-loving Hoppy, his nose an endearing pink heart. His every emotional is writ large in the collage-style illustrations (they appear to be digital, though the textures are those of many media, including chalk and crayon), and it won’t be long before they are chiming in with every one of Hoppy’s “Hooray!”s. Hopgood’s scribbly style will appeal to budding artists, and his colors evoke spring. A double-page spread in the backmatter lists the five senses and asks readers what they can hear, smell, see, taste and touch, bringing the lesson back to the story with small inset pictures of the things Hoppy sensed and asking readers to identify them.

Just the ticket for a little bit of learning on a cold winter day when spring seems far away. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30129-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A sweet, poetic ode to autumn.


A rhyming celebration of imagination.

A child with brown skin offers gentle, artful ideas about what to do with autumn leaves. The picture book's idyllic setting seems Northeastern in nature, with deciduous trees shedding leaves, which the child scoops up. Could a leaf from a tree become a hat, a Halloween mask, a hammock, or something else entirely? "It could be a horn that blows, announcing that we're here. // A leafy parade to celebrate our favorite time of year." Rhyme rules the text but isn't forced in the least. Collaged leaves against painted illustrations encourage play and imagination. A nod to winter and spring make this a year-round read. Endpapers with realistic labeled images of leaves provide an injection of information in this otherwise dreamy musing. The backmatter includes instructions on collaging—a meaningful and fun activity that builds upon the text. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, there is opportunity for both learning and whimsy. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, poetic ode to autumn. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30659-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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This is a tremendously moving story, but some people will be moved only on the second reading, after they’ve Googled “How to...


A hug shouldn’t require an instruction manual—but some do.

A porcupine can frighten even the largest animal. In this picture book, a bear and a deer, along with a small rabbit, each run away when they hear eight simple words and their name: “I need a hug. Will you cuddle me,…?” As they flee, each utters a definitive refusal that rhymes with their name. The repetitive structure gives Blabey plenty of opportunities for humor, because every animal responds to the question with an outlandish, pop-eyed expression of panic. But the understated moments are even funnier. Each animal takes a moment to think over the request, and the drawings are nuanced enough that readers can see the creatures react with slowly building anxiety or, sometimes, a glassy stare. These silent reaction shots not only show exquisite comic timing, but they make the rhymes in the text feel pleasingly subtle by delaying the final line in each stanza. The story is a sort of fable about tolerance. It turns out that a porcupine can give a perfectly adequate hug when its quills are flat and relaxed, but no one stays around long enough to find out except for an animal that has its own experiences with intolerance: a snake. It’s an apt, touching moral, but the climax may confuse some readers as they try to figure out the precise mechanics of the embrace.

This is a tremendously moving story, but some people will be moved only on the second reading, after they’ve Googled “How to pet a porcupine.” (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-29710-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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