A visual treat, even if Little Bird is a little much.

LITTLE BIRD, BE QUIET!

A loquacious bird is first shunned then valued for his talkative nature.

Little Bird has a lot to say. He asks questions of his parents, tries to engage with his siblings and chatters on to other woodland creatures. No one has time for him or any interest in what he has to say, so he retreats to a little brook. There, he finds another bird who doesn’t tell him to “Be quiet!” and instead “smile[s], laugh[s], and flap[s] his wings at everything Little Bird sa[ys].” Accompanying illustrations reveal that Little Bird is talking to his own reflection in the brook, and here the story unravels a bit: Whereas earlier scenes might provoke sympathy for Little Bird when others ignore him, this scene develops him as an incessant chatterbox less interested in back-and-forth conversation than in stream-of-consciousness soliloquy. He fails to notice that he’s talking to himself or that “the bird in the water” doesn’t respond to his questions and comments. Nevertheless, his family and the other animals end up missing his chatter, and they tell him so and welcome their garrulous loved one back into the fold. Gibson’s illustrations are made of photographed tableaux of the animal characters and setting detail sculpted from fabric and other materials, and they steal the show with lively, expressive characterization.

A visual treat, even if Little Bird is a little much. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60905-520-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more