E-i-e-i-ho-hum.

READ REVIEW

THERE WAS A TURKEY ON THE FARM

Turkey gets by with a little help from her friends.

At the start of Gorbachev’s farm tale, Turkey laments her friendless state to Cow. After hearing Turkey’s criticisms of Pig, the ducks, Goat, Hen, and Rooster, Cow says, “You will never find any friends if you are so choosy.” Miffed, Turkey leaves the barnyard to try to find friends elsewhere. Gorbachev’s trademark scratchy, full-color illustrations show frogs and fish ignoring her, but then she catch’s a fox’s eye. “I’m Fox, and I want to invite you to the dinner party,” he says. No silly goose, this time Turkey isn’t being critical and choosy when she rejects the invitation; she’s understandably alarmed as Fox tries to drag her by the wing to the forest. She yells for help, and luckily, the farm animals she’d earlier rebuffed hear her and come to her rescue. Fox flees into the forest, and an un-gobbled Turkey is left behind with the farm animals, who bear no ill will toward her and are happy she’s unharmed. When Cow asks her, Turkey admits she was wrong about them but not that she did any wrong herself. The result is an ending that falls a bit flat, with no evidence of real growth, just good fortune that her community was patient with such a turkey.

E-i-e-i-ho-hum. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4425-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Little Nutbrown Hare ventures out into the wide world and comes back with a new companion in this sequel to Guess How Much I Love You (1994).

Big Nutbrown Hare is too busy, so after asking permission, Little Nutbrown Hare scampers off over the rolling meadow to play by himself. After discovering that neither his shadow nor his reflection make satisfactory playmates (“You’re only another me!”), Little Nutbrown comes to Cloudy Mountain…and meets “Someone real!” It’s a white bunny who introduces herself as Tipps. But a wonderful round of digging and building and chasing about reaches an unexpected end with a game of hide-and-seek, because both hares hide! After waiting a long time to be found, Little Nutbrown Hare hops on home in disappointment, wondering whether he’ll ever see Tipps again. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long to find out, since she has followed him. “Now, where on earth did she come from?” wonders Big Nutbrown. “Her name is Tipps,” Little Nutbrown proudly replies, “and she’s my friend.” Jeram’s spacious, pale-toned, naturalistic outdoor scenes create a properly idyllic setting for this cozy development in a tender child-caregiver relationship—which hasn’t lost a bit of its appealing intimacy in the more than 25 years since its first appearance. As in the first, Big Nutbrown Hare is ungendered, facilitating pleasingly flexible readings.

Readers are likely to love it to the moon and back. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1747-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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