A high-energy read with plenty of kid appeal.

POTATO PANTS!

Nightshades clash more than just their personalities in this high-energy picture book.

A potato is very excited about getting a pair of potato pants. He rushes to Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants store, along with a horde of other tubers, googly eyes, smiles, and teeth drawn haphazardly onto collaged-in photographs and drawings. But one giant eggplant is also in the pants store, trying on a loud yellow garment patterned with pineapples. At first the potato argues that “Eggplants don’t even wear pants!” (perhaps that would be too ridiculous). It turns out that “Yesterday was Eggplant Pants Day,” but the potato is still suspicious; “Yesterday,” he says, “I was walking along, minding my own potato-y business…when he ran by and PUSHED ME right into a trash can!” Not wanting to patronize the same establishment, the potato lurks outside the store, even calling a grocery store in the hopes they might sell tater togs (or even a pair of “cucumber cords”), to no avail. Finally he bursts into the store, sending the eggplant flying, only to find that another root has snatched up the last pair of pants. Two apologies and one pair of display pants later, the conflict is all patched up, and the two friends dance the Robot. Zany and meandering, this story will make kids laugh despite the uneven pacing and maybe even model the art of apology.

A high-energy read with plenty of kid appeal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10723-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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