Though it lacks the brevity of Aesop, this lightly Christmas-y twist has some charm

READ REVIEW

THE WINTER FOX

Fox plays all summer long and doesn’t take care to prepare for winter.

In green and golden double-page spreads, Fox gambols and loafs while his friends busy themselves preparing for winter and offering to help him do the same. When they tell him they will be snug in their dens all winter long, he replies, “I will play in the snow and sing to the wind and have the whole forest to myself!” Naturally, once winter does come, Fox finds himself bitterly regretting his imprudent ways. Thinking to himself, “Oh, I wish I’d listened to my friends,” Fox looks for a star to wish on and is bonked on the head by a falling box wrapped in bright paper. (In the distance, a dim silhouette of a flying sleigh and reindeer can be espied, the only hint of Santa’s presence in the book.) Fox opens the box and finds various foodstuffs and smaller wrapped boxes, which he distributes among his friends. After a feast, they counsel him to store the leftovers to get him through the rest of the winter. Each soft-focus illustration is embellished with silver foil for maximum sparkle, highlighting birchbark, dead grasses, and snowdrifts. All the animals are so fuzzy and nonthreatening it’s easy to imagine this Fox playing with instead of eating his squirrel and rabbit friends.

Though it lacks the brevity of Aesop, this lightly Christmas-y twist has some charm . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9631-3

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced.

BIRD HUGS

Watch out, Hug Machine (Scott Campbell, 2014), there’s another long-limbed lover of squeezes in the mix.

Bernard, a tiny, lavender bird, dejectedly sits atop a high branch. His wings droop all the way to the ground. Heaving a sigh, his disappointment is palpable. With insufferably long wings, he has never been able to fly. All of his friends easily took to the skies, leaving him behind. There is nothing left to do but sit in his tree and feel sorry for himself. Adamson amusingly shows readers the passage of time with a sequence of vignettes of Bernard sitting in the rain, the dark, and amid a cloud of paper wasps—never moving from his branch. Then one day he hears a sob and finds a tearful orangutan. Without even thinking, Bernard wraps his long wings around the great ape. The orangutan is comforted! Bernard has finally found the best use of his wings. In gentle watercolor and pencil sketches, Adamson slips in many moments of humor. Animals come from all over to tell Bernard their troubles (a lion muses that it is “lonely at the top of the food chain” while a bat worries about missing out on fun during the day). Three vertical spreads that necessitate a 90-degree rotation add to the fun.

Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9271-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more