While this hardly reinvents the wheel, it is a solid addition to the children’s lullaby-book genre.

HUSH, LITTLE BUNNY

Spend the day with a little bunny and their papa as they explore the world around them to the familiar tune of “Hush, Little Baby.”

“Hush, little bunny, don’t you cry. // Papa’s gonna give you the big blue sky. / And if that big blue sky clouds over, // Papa’s gonna give you a patch of clover.” The winter snow has melted, and Papa is ready to take his little bunny out into the beautiful spring world. From tasty patches of clover to nibble to scary hawks to hide from, Papa teaches little bunny everything they need to know about being a bunny in the meadow. More importantly, he shows that he will always be there for the little bunny. Charming illustrations bring the bunny duo to life and will certainly catch children’s eyes right off the bat. Done in Stein’s characteristically loose and scratchy style, the bunnies frolic and gambol with abandon. Despite the reference to danger in the form of the hawks, the illustration depicts them wheeling in the sky in the distance; when the bunnies take shelter, they are cozily nestled in a burrow with no predator in sight. Caregivers will be sure to relate to the loving papa bunny, while children will enjoy singing along to the lullaby.

While this hardly reinvents the wheel, it is a solid addition to the children’s lullaby-book genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284522-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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