NUTIK, THE WOLF PUP

In this story, “first told in Julie’s Wolf Pack [1997],” a little Eskimo boy is given a wolf’s name: Amaroz, after the leader of the wolf pack that had saved his lost and starving older sister. “The wolf pack’s noble black leader had shared his family’s food with her.” One day his sister Julie comes home with two wolf cubs that are sick and hungry. Amaroz loves and cares for one of the cubs and names him Nutik. Julie warns her brother: “ . . . do not come to love this wolf pup. I have promised the wolves we will return the pups when they are fat and well.” But Amaroz does fall in love with the cub. The two become inseparable, and when the cub is grown and it is time to return to the wolves, Amaroz first tries to hide him, then reluctantly lets him go. Amaroz returns home, “His heart broken after all.” But then, Amaroz finds the wolf cub has returned to him to be part of the human family, forsaking the wolves. Rand traveled to Barrow, Alaska, to capture the people and landscapes in the story in watercolor and pencil. His pictures of Nutik are, of course, dreamy, and his focus on the boy and wolf help to indicate the isolation of the terrain. One interesting technique is a wash across the top of many of the pictures, which serves as a link between scenes and when in red indicates the 24-hour day. Night scenes of the dancing wolves, snow, and stars are particularly effective. As a young introduction to the Julie stories, this has great appeal, but it stands alone as a heartwarming story of a boy and his dog (or, in this case, his wolf). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028164-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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