Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to...

AND THE COW SAID

One uninvited animal guest after another drives a farmer out of his house in this noisy nighttime romp.

Poor Farmer Bill is just about to go to bed on a rainy night when there’s a knock at the door. “He opened it up, and a head peeked through. / It was a cow, and the cow said…MOO!” The cow is only the first in a line of livestock that troops in, one at a time, or lurks in wait outside to bleat, squeak, bark, or utter some other characteristic call at the (firm) press of a white spot on each animal’s body. The chip embedded in the rear cover having no fewer than 10 separate sounds programmed in, Farmer Bill finds no rest—not even up on the roof, where a rooster waits to “bellow” its morning greeting as the sun comes up on a climactic animal chorus. The noises are more familiar (and less gross) than in the similarly polyphonic Ten Monsters in the Bed (2015), which some at least may see as a good thing, but on the final page the contact spots are both unmarked and mostly not located where the animals are. Hearing the farm creatures sound off again will require pressing at random and hoping for a result. On the other hand, the chip’s battery is replaceable, so this is less ephemeral than others of its sort.

Interactive fun, on a certain elemental level—but there are apps aplenty with more and better noises as well as animation to go along with the audio. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0101-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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