A perfectly paced, holistically rendered home-away-home story

OWL SEES OWL

Leaving the tree trunk where family slumbers, a fledgling owl explores the night world.

Wide awake, Owl hops out of the tree nest where mother, brother, and sister sleep soundly and, with a “Jump, Flutter,” and “Flap,” flies above the fall woods with its red and yellow leaves. Soaring upward, Owl’s eyes gleam in the moon’s beam while “Stars Twinkle” and “Mice Scamper.” Spying its reflection in some water, “Owl / Sees Owl,” causing the young bird to turn back home, flying above the mice beneath the stars, past moon beams gleaming in deer’s eyes, and over falling leaves to the family nest. The simple, often alliterative, onomatopoeic text forms a spare poem of single words arranged strategically on double-paged spreads to coordinate symbiotically with the luminous watercolor, colored pencil, ink, collage, and digital media illustrations, visually and verbally tracking Owl’s foray away from and return back home. Deft use of reflected light, bird’s-eye perspective, and a dark palette create an atmosphere of silent wonder. Observant readers will notice text and illustrations repeat in reverse order, beginning with “Home Mama Brother Sister” as Owl departs and closing with “Sister Brother Mama Home” as Owl returns safely home.

A perfectly paced, holistically rendered home-away-home story . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49782-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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