SOURPUSS AND SWEETIE PIE

The ingenuous little girl from the Caldecott Medal–winning The Hello, Goodbye Window (2005) is back, exploring the split personality that causes her loving grandparents to give her two very different names. She explains, “Poppy doesn’t like Sourpuss too much. Neither does Nanna. I mean they like her because she’s me, but not so much. Do you know what I mean?” Anyone who’s ever spent time with a young child will know exactly what she means, as will children themselves. Once again, Juster nails the inner life of a child, capturing perfectly the mercurial mood swings that can turn adorable into awful in the blink of an eye—and capturing also the child’s own bewilderment at the process. Raschka’s childlike, gorgeously smeary, textured images employ ever-so-subtle shifts in color and line—and not-so-subtle scowls—to chart the curly-haired moppet’s transitions from Sourpuss to Sweetie Pie and back, one fabulous double-page spread that fairly bristles with crankiness acting as a set of body-language studies in truculence. Readers will be as happy as Nanna and Poppy to welcome both of them back. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-92943-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Michael di Capua/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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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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FARFALLINA & MARCEL

Farfallina the caterpillar and Marcel the gosling become fast friends when they meet during a rainshower, taking an immediate liking to one another. The two play hide-and-seek, each taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the other (Marcel can’t climb trees like Farfallina, Farfallina can’t move as fast as Marcel) and enjoy traversing the pond together, Farfallina riding on Marcel’s back. One day, Farfallina doesn’t feel like herself, so she climbs a tree while Marcel waits at the bottom. He waits and waits, until finally, lonely and worried, he gives up. When he next sees his reflection in the pond, he can hardly recognize himself; he’s grown so much. Alert readers will surmise that Farfallina has done some growing of her own, and it’s true: when she finally emerges, she has become a beautiful butterfly. She descends, saddened that Marcel did not wait for her; the only creature in the vicinity is a handsome goose in their pond. Of course, the goose is Marcel, but neither friend recognizes the other. They are attracted to one another all over again, and are overjoyed and amazed to realize each other’s true identity. Keller’s (Cecil’s Garden, 2001, etc.) watercolor illustrations feature a bright pink caterpillar Farfallina, who turns into a glorious orange butterfly, and a realistically gray-brown Marcel against backgrounds of summery, outdoorsy blues and greens. This heartwarming, colorfully illustrated story underscores beautifully the power of true friendship without glossing over the reality that change is inevitable as friends grow and mature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-623932-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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