Extroverts may appreciate the validation, but this series is losing its freshness for everyone else.

ALL RIGHT ALREADY!

A SNOWY STORY

From the Goodnight Already! series

Poor, beleaguered Bear must put up with his neighbor Duck’s over-the-top excitement when it snows overnight.

Those familiar with the Goodnight Already! series know that Bear and Duck have previously weathered differences in sleep patterns, activity choices, and some time apart. This time, Extrovert (with a capital E) Duck is thrilled to wake to new snowfall. The first thing Duck does is run to tell Bear, who is in the bath, and cajole him into enjoying the snow together. Introvert (with a capital I) Bear is interested only in drying off. But Duck won’t be put off. “No” is Bear’s answer to every activity suggestion Duck poses, but Duck insists on sledding and snow angels and a snowball fight. Hilariously, Bear is wearing only a yellow and orange polka-dot towel around his waist and a tiny shower cap atop his head; Duck didn’t even let him dry off, which is why his sudden sneeze is no surprise. Duck’s ministrations are the final straw for Bear: “Out! Now!” Duck’s own sneeze leads to a subtle (not!) message for Bear begging for some TLC. Bear is almost a slapstick character in Davies’ illustrations, and Duck is a whirlwind of energy. As in many recent introvert/extrovert books, it’s the introvert who gives in to make the peace: Bear, still sick, comes and tends Duck, though unwillingly. Moreover, the joke simply feels old in this fourth iteration.

Extroverts may appreciate the validation, but this series is losing its freshness for everyone else. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-237099-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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

HEY, DUCK!

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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Never underestimate the feats an animal will brave in order to be reunited with their loved ones.

TRUMAN

A tiny tortoise discovers just how brave he is when his girl unexpectedly takes a bus headed away from home.

Truman, like his girl, Sarah, is quiet, “peaceful and pensive,” unlike the busy, noisy city outside their building’s window. In just the first few spreads, Reidy and Cummins manage to capture the close relationship between the girl and her pet, so it’s understandable that Truman should worry when he adds up the day’s mysterious clues: a big backpack, a large banana, a bow in Sarah’s hair, extra green beans in Truman’s dish, and, especially, Sarah boarding the No. 11 bus. He’s so worried that he decides to go after her, a daunting feat for a tortoise the size of a small doughnut. Cummins’ gouache, brush marker, charcoal, colored pencil, and digital illustrations marvelously convey both the big picture of Truman’s navigation of the house and his tortoise’s-eye view of things. And the ending, when Sarah arrives home in time to scoop him up before he slips under the front door, stuttering her amazement at his brave feats, is just right. Sarah and her mother have pale skin and straight, black hair; other city dwellers are diverse. Peaceful and pensive like Truman himself, this book charms; there’s just something uplifting and wonderful about the whole package.

Never underestimate the feats an animal will brave in order to be reunited with their loved ones. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1664-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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