Thrillingly cozy.

READ REVIEW

INTO THE SNOW

A child narrates a day spent playing in the snow in this collaboration between a Japanese-American author and Japanese illustrator.

From the very first sentence—“It’s snowing!”—Kaneko nails the unbridled excitement of a preschooler who wakes up to snowfall. Saito captures the child from the rear, his smudgy illustration offering readers a view dominated by one spectacular case of bed head, hair spiking every which way in a visual reinforcement of the child’s glee. Per Mommy’s instruction (“bundle up and have fun”), the child plunges into the snow with a yellow plastic sled. Each declarative sentence encapsulates the child’s simple, unfeigned wonder: “The snow is light and fluffy”; “Look! I’ve found an icicle.” The child weathers an unexpected spin on the sled but proclaims, “I’m all right.” The wind picks up; the child goes back inside for a cup of hot chocolate with Mommy. Working with oil pastels, gouache, acrylics, and colored pencil, Saito creates tableaux characterized by thick, soft lines, comfortably rounded shapes, and warm colors—there’s hardly a hint of black or gray, and soft blobs of pink suggest cherry blossoms, further sweetening the mood. This child is not Peter on an urban odyssey; the adventure appears to take place entirely within the confines of the child’s backyard. Though Mommy is nearby, she gives the child, who has recognizably East Asian features, space for delicious independence.

Thrillingly cozy. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-188-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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