A labor of love honoring labors of love.

THE ONE DAY HOUSE

Young, bronze-skinned Wilson shares with his community and with his elder friend, Gigi, all the ways he wants to improve Gigi’s home one day—until “one day” arrives.

Before the formal title page, Wilson is seen gazing at a bright pink flier on the window of La Luna Cafe. Opposite this illustration is the flyer’s enlargement—“Build Up Neighbors”—entreating readers to “Fix a neighbor’s home together!” Wilson has apparently torn off one of the phone-numbered strips at the bottom. The text begins in earnest with Wilson telling Gigi that one day he will paint her house “orange and yellow like the sun.” As in each successive conversation between the two, Gigi likes his idea but also reminds Wilson that his presence in her life is more important than any home repair. In between these sweet litanies, Wilson tells such people as the ice cream man, a passing neighbor, and the local librarian of envisioned improvements. All conversations begin with Wilson’s “One day….” The vibrant, mixed-media artwork depicts an established neighborhood of mixed ethnicities. Scenes of neighborhood conversations are interspersed with Wilson’s own childlike, colored drawings, embellished by such details as his calculations of how many nails would be needed in a new fence. Art and text together radiate a warm message of community and caring.

A labor of love honoring labors of love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-709-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

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, 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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