While the relationship between parent and child is a lovely, loving one, this book doesn’t do much that isn’t being done...

GOOD MORNING, GRUMPLE

The grumple of the title is a small, white-furred animal with a bushy black tail and ears, dressed in pajamas.

Its mom, a bigger version of the young animal, wearing a prim, flowered dress, tries to wake it with kisses and songs and to entice it outdoors to see the other animals. In their suburban woodland house, the grumple sleeps under a patchwork quilt, holding its fox doll. Addressing readers directly, the text advises: “If it’s [sic] brow begins to furrow, / If it hides inside its burrow, / Then lean close and sing a little louder: / Shush—Shush—There’s no rush / The sun is gold in the morning hush.” That golden sun has a greenish cast in Gauthier’s mixed-media collage illustrations, and the palette used throughout is mostly made of dull grays, greens, and browns. The cutout pieces (birds, a potted plant, the grumple’s toy) incorporated into the illustrations have a playful, childlike look in contrast to the somber colors. When the mother finally persuades the child to leave its comfy bed, it magically changes from its pajamas into its overalls during a verse that spans a page turn and then goes out willingly to greet the day. His friends, including a bear parent and cub standing outside, are also dressed in human clothing, but the birds and fish scattered throughout the landscape are in their natural feathers and scales. The textual decision to place readers in the position of parent rather than child is a puzzling one.

While the relationship between parent and child is a lovely, loving one, this book doesn’t do much that isn’t being done elsewhere. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-7727-8014-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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