An amusing trifle for those that like animal stories.


Ozzy is about to be a mother when lions arrive for an attack!

This Spanish import starts as a quiet, repetitive counting book, as first one, then two, then “three ostriches found three flowers.” The counting motif continues as one, then two, then “three lions saw three ostriches, licked their lips and their whiskers and claws, and thought: YUM! YUM! YUM!” But then there is a break in the pattern. Ozzy, the first ostrich, lays her egg, spies the predatory lions, and angrily yells: “Nah-nana-naa-nah…Not you, nor you, nor you can get this egg!” There is an anxious moment when the lions advance toward the three large birds, but at Ozzy’s “whistle” command, “the big birds buried their heads in the sand.” At Ozzy’s second signal, their heads come up, and they shout: “BOO!” The effect of this action is quite bizarre; the lions are so frightened that one “turned white,” the second “lost all of his fur,” and the last lion’s “teeth fell out.” There are more physical transformations in store, and the lions actually become friends with the ostriches, until three new lions appear. Who can save the friends from these new enemies? Humorous paintings, full of action and set in an imaginary African savanna, accompany a silly but rhythmic text that sometimes sounds like a folk tale. It is also available in Spanish as El Avestruz Mariluz.

An amusing trifle for those that like animal stories. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945415-9-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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

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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

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