Young children will relate to Rory’s dilemma and respond to the adorable illustrations, but non-native readers will struggle...


When Rory the rabbit discovers he’s different from his rabbit friends, he feels self-conscious and decides to find another tribe.

Unlike many other bilingual picture books that offer side-by-side text, the story unfolds in Simplified Chinese with English text at the back paired to thumbnail illustrations, making it difficult to compare the translation. Like all the other rabbits, Rory “poops next to the snakeweed,” eats grass, and plays hide-and-seek. One day, he is shocked to discover his ears are much, much shorter than his friends’. Afraid they’ll “look down on him,” Rory decides not to be a rabbit anymore. First he joins a pack of dogs. But his short, bushy tail makes him stand out. Then Rory joins a sleuth of bears. “Bear ears and bear tails are both short,” he reasons. However, when winter comes, he refuses to hibernate in the darkness of a hollowed-out tree. Predictably, a bear says to him, “You’d be a lot happier if you would just be yourself,” and Rory realizes how much he misses his rabbit friends. Although the storyline is didactic and some of the translation awkwardly literal (“He made himself up to look like a grey dog”), the delightful illustrations compensate. Double-page spreads showcase cute, playful critters rendered in muted yet vibrant tones characteristic of Chinese brush painting. Native Chinese speakers will find the hanyu pinyin (Mandarin phonetic transcriptions) useful in pronouncing new words.

Young children will relate to Rory’s dilemma and respond to the adorable illustrations, but non-native readers will struggle to use the book as a learning tool. (glossary) (Bilingual picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945-29516-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Certain to steal hearts.


In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.


The comical longings of little girls who want to be big girls—exercising to the chant of "We must—we must—increase our bust!"—and the wistful longing of Margaret, who talks comfortably to God, for a religion, come together as her anxiety to be normal, which is natural enough in sixth grade.

And if that's what we want to tell kids, this is a fresh, unclinical case in point: Mrs. Blume (Iggie's House, 1969) has an easy way with words and some choice ones when the occasion arises. But there's danger in the preoccupation with the physical signs of puberty—with growing into a Playboy centerfold, the goal here, though the one girl in the class who's on her way rues it; and with menstruating sooner rather than later —calming Margaret, her mother says she was a late one, but the happy ending is the first drop of blood: the effect is to confirm common anxieties instead of allaying them. (And countertrends notwithstanding, much is made of that first bra, that first dab of lipstick.) More promising is Margaret's pursuit of religion: to decide for herself (earlier than her 'liberal' parents intended), she goes to temple with a grandmother, to church with a friend; but neither makes any sense to her—"Twelve is very late to learn." Fortunately, after a disillusioning sectarian dispute, she resumes talking to God…to thank him for that telltale sign of womanhood.

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1970

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1397-8

Page Count: 157

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1970

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet