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

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


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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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.


A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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