THE BOLD BOY

A fresh-faced lad frolics through this gracefully silly, rhythmically told version of an old nursery tale, appropriating one thing after another for his very own in what seems to be the perfect example of the toddler’s creed: If I want it, it’s mine. Detailed illustrations in mixed media and collage set the boy and his adventures in a lighthearted, naïve countryside. The Bold Boy is a sweet-looking young fellow who finds a pea and leverages it into a selection of progressively larger acquisitions: from the person to whom he entrusts the care of the pea, he claims the hen who ate it; from the owner of the pig who frightens the hen, he claims the pig; and from the donkey who chases away the pig, he claims the donkey. “Naughty, naughty,” exclaims the boy each time—and he takes the animal from its owner (“for that’s the law where I come from”) and goes on his merry way. At last, of course, the boy gets his comeuppance, his jolly dance interrupted but briefly by the reckoning. Before the gloom sets in, the Bold Boy finds another pea on the ground and saunters off across Ray’s dreamy and delightful, radiantly detailed country landscape. One might only wish to follow him across the next hill to see what the Bold Boy does next. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1624-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2001

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite

THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY

When a baby elephant is born, “wrinkled and gray,” not just the herd, but the whole world rejoices, from morning to night.

From the proud Mama to the grand Aunts, from the “fertile and firm” Earth to the ancient Banyan tree, everyone and everything around the new baby elephant joins in celebration and care for the Baby “who warms the hearts of the world today.” Glowing with warm golds and greens and shadowed with deep blues and greens, the gorgeous artwork lushly illuminates the day of an elephant’s birth as it is cared for by its family and surroundings. The expressions on the elephant faces are sheer joy to behold; the elephant smiles are realistic and yet radiate affection. Seemingly simple, this gentle rhyming story works on two levels: the playfulness of the young elephant and its friends ensure that young children will be able to see themselves in the story, and given the depiction of the natural scenes, at least some young readers will become fascinated with the lives of elephants as well. An author’s note at the end provides background from the Indian-American author’s own life and also draws attention to the present-day need to protect elephants from poaching and the loss of habitat.

The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16684-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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