A sweetly imaginative story about friendship whose message will linger.

READ REVIEW

THE SEA TIGER

Turnbull’s debut plumbs the depths of a friendship between a confident Sea Tiger and a quiet merboy.

On the opening page, a stream of little fish swims into the wide maw of the Sea Tiger, standing on an ocean rock like the Lion King. Narrating this tale in a larger-than-life voice, its sentences command attention. “I am Oscar’s best friend. We do everything together. / Where I lead, Oscar follows.” The merboy, a diminutive creature with soft eyes, is entranced by his giant striped friend. The two begin a magical adventure through the shadowy seas. Swinging on a clamshell trapeze and riding a sea-horse carousel, anything is possible for these creatures. On page after page, the illustrations capture the essence of friendship. With a subtle palette of hazy greens and blues, Turnbull creates a haunting underworld of turtles, octopuses, jellyfish, and shells. The architectural use of black space shines a spotlight on the pair, with energy on some pages and quietness on others. Colored pencils capture the movement of the waters with the tiny, swaying tufts of the tiger’s pelt. With a twist near the end, readers are encouraged to consider love through separation.

A sweetly imaginative story about friendship whose message will linger. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7986-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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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

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