“I want to howl,” says Little Wolf. “Teach me how to howl.” But Mother Wolf is occupied and Father must hunt. Owl can only teach him to hoot and Frog, only to croak. Dissatisfied, but determined, the pup continues his search for a vocal mentor. He eventually comes upon his silvery Grandfather Wolf, who gently licks the young wolf’s tears and guides him through the howling right of passage. “First you have to sit down and face the moon,” Grandfather intones. He steers his pupil, step-by-step: “Then you have to think of all the things you love.” Little Wolf is filled with warmth as he begins to feel the voice inside him. At last, his howl is so enormous it shakes the branches in the trees and beckons the rest of the pack to join along. The delicate watercolors, dusted with color, gracefully convey the abandon, joy and frustration of this pup’s quest. It is a tender, sometimes humorous journey that evokes the yearning of childhood while setting forth the virtues of the multi-generational family. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-11762-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2006

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Full of humor and action, with easily recognizable emotions.


A nearly wordless graphic picture book illustrates the angst of a fledgling whose parent is determined to see it take its first flight.

The double-page spread encompassing the title page shows a small, comical bird sitting in a nest of twigs, dubiously eyeing a larger bird who flies above it with a facial expression of avian bliss. There follows a series of panels that show long-distance views of the larger bird gracefully landing in the nest occupied by, apparently, its progeny. The next double-page spread shows a single aerial view, with the little bird gazing far down to the earth. On the ensuing pages, the little bird exhibits high anxiety and clings to its parent with a large speech bubble that proclaims the titular “NOPE!” Over the course of the book, the little one—through pastel-tinged images in thought bubbles—imagines all the possible terrors it may encounter venturing from the nest, while its parent continues to encourage it to leave. There are occasional sound-effect words, such as “shake” and “flap,” and there is a full page of “no” in several different languages. Most of the story is told exclusively with the funny facial expressions and body language of two birds at cross purposes. The simple message is clear, and the humorous animals are foregrounded against pretty green and blue watercolor settings. Naturally, “nope” eventually changes to “yep.”

Full of humor and action, with easily recognizable emotions. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99731-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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When her three sons call in sick on the day of the big Fourth of July parade, Billy’s spunky Grandma takes on their job of driving the family garbage truck. Aiming primarily for humor, but falling short, Grandma and Billy’s adventure proves perilous from the moment Grandma leaves the driveway, as she immediately plows through a mail box, rose beds, a flag and even a clothesline without noticing. In a twist, these items pile up on the garbage truck, transforming it into an award-winning float in the town’s parade. Obviously, Clark hopes readers will see the humor in Grandma’s blissful oblivion; however, there is a noticeable disconnect between Clark’s levity and Huntington’s realistic illustrations, which clearly picture the faces of those with property damage as anything but laughing. Off-target and maybe even offensive to those with older loved ones. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-89272-698-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Down East

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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