Buy the book for the illustrations and for the concept of living in a tree, which every preschooler will love.


Three very different animal characters live in separate apartments in the old chestnut tree.

Edmond, the reclusive, artistic squirrel, lives in a cozy apartment in a chestnut tree, making magnificent pompoms and nut jam. The flamboyant Mr. George Owl lives at the top of the tree, indulging his passion for disguise. He loves to masquerade as different animals—perhaps a rhinoceros, tarantula, or polar bear—using costumes he constructs from natural materials. Hospitable Harry the bear lives on the ground floor of the tree, and he is planning a party for all the animals. Edmond wants to be invited but is much too shy to go. He cries into his nut jam and then goes sadly to bed. But Mr. George Owl persuades him to attend the party, and they go together, the owl strangely disguised as a sea gull. Edmond has a good time, makes some friends, and starts to come out of his shell. He concludes that “Being surrounded by friends was surely what suited him best of all.” No doubt in the interest of readability, the bland, overlong text is typeset in monolithic chunks, but it lacks any visual interaction with the illustrations. This meandering, elliptical rendition of the familiar themes of friendship and acceptance is rescued by Boutavant's vibrantly colorful and elegant illustrations, which offer myriad child-friendly details to pore over.

Buy the book for the illustrations and for the concept of living in a tree, which every preschooler will love. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59270-174-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?