An engrossing episode, infused with magic and with moments light and dark as well as lots of small furry animals.

THE MIDSUMMER TOMTE AND THE LITTLE RABBITS

A DAY-BY-DAY SUMMER STORY IN TWENTY-ONE SHORT CHAPTERS

The gruff but large-hearted Scandinavian gnome usually associated with Yuletide takes an offseason turn when a summer storm brings a company of homeless woodland creatures to his door.

Faithfully tending to a cottage that has had no human residents for many years, the aptly named Grump faces the prospect of losing his sole companion, a wise bee met in The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits (2014). Meanwhile, along with talk of the coming of midsummer in the tumultuous Rabbit clan, young Binny is smitten with newly met Rory—portrayed in Eriksson’s cozy, slightly soft-focus illustrations as a bunny with significantly darker fur than Binny’s and her family’s. The idyllic opening scenes take on a dramatic cast with the wild storm, into which Rory intrepidly slogs to rescue Father Rabbit’s prized hat. A falling tree leaves Rory at death’s door, but he recovers in time to join in a joyous midsummer frolic around a maypole and, with the red-capped tomte presiding, be married to Binny. In a series of sweet closing chapters, Grump’s grumpiness is forever banished by a midsummer’s dance with a fairy, and by summer’s end there’s a pair of new little bunnies to dandle on his knees. Stark’s simple, dreamy prose and the idyllic gatherings centering on the kindly tomte seamlessly combine to create a superb candidate for reading aloud.

An engrossing episode, infused with magic and with moments light and dark as well as lots of small furry animals. (Illustrated fantasy. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78250-244-9

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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There’s lots to see and do in this big city.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF CITIES

A set of panoramic views of the urban environment: inside and out, above and belowground, at street level and high overhead.

Thanks to many flaps, pull tabs, spinners, and sliders, viewers can take peeks into stores and apartments, see foliage change through the seasons in a park, operate elevators, make buildings rise and come down, visit museums and municipal offices, take in a film, join a children’s parade, marvel as Christmas decorations go up—even look in on a wedding and a funeral. Balicevic populates each elevated cartoon view with dozens of tiny but individualized residents diverse in age, skin tone, hair color and style, dress, and occupation. He also adds such contemporary touches as an electrical charging station for cars, surveillance cameras, smartphones, and fiber optic cables. Moreover, many flaps conceal diagrammatic views of infrastructure elements like water treatment facilities and sources of electrical power or how products ranging from plate glass and paper to bread, cheese, and T-shirts are manufactured (realistically, none of the workers in the last are white). Baumann’s commentary is largely dispensable, but she does worthily observe on the big final pop-up spread that cities are always changing—often, nowadays, becoming more environmentally friendly.

There’s lots to see and do in this big city. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 979-1-02760-079-3

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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