A note for parents: Duct tape works well to repair holes torn in snow pants by otter sliding; after reading this book you...

UTTERLY OTTERLY NIGHT

Proving to both his family and himself that he is finally big enough, Little Otter faces down danger and saves his family in this satisfying follow-up to Casanova’s Utterly Otterly Day (2008).

On a moonlit night in snowy winter, the otter family pops out from its holt to play in an “utterly, otterly way.” This consists of belly slides down slippery hills, and the delight on their faces makes it likely that readers will itch to imitate them. But the members of the otter family are not the only creatures about. Papa warns of a hunting owl, and another time, Little Otter barely halts one of his wild rides in time to avoid a collision with huge Moose. But it is at the top of the steepest hill yet that Little Otter gets his own first sense of danger: Five wolves are on the prowl. Scared though he is, Little Otter knows what he must do, and he bravely sets about distracting the wolves, warning his family and narrowly evading teeth and claws. Hoyt’s pen-and-ink illustrations wonderfully convey the playfulness and innocence of Little Otter, his every emotion worn on his sleeve. Casanova's onomatopoeic phrases punctuate the action with infectious glee: "Up and down, the otters play. / They glide and slide, / in a whooshily, shooshily way."   

A note for parents: Duct tape works well to repair holes torn in snow pants by otter sliding; after reading this book you may need a couple rolls. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7562-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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 reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more