A warm, cozy counterpoint to Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman’s Bear Snores On (2002) but without the “Again! Again!”...

WIDE-AWAKE BEAR

While all bears grow heavy-eyed in the winter, some little cubs—like some little humans—are too anxious to sleep.

Elliott can’t quite catch a wink when his mother bear tells him it’s time to nap until spring. He misses the season too much—and he’s impatient for it to come. He tries again and again to lull himself to sleep (changing his position, fluffing the bark strips, plumping up his pine-needle pillow), but nothing works. He is “Still. Wide. Awake”—a pleasing refrain. When he starts seeing scary shadows, Elliott turns to his mother for comfort. She instructs him to look closer to see the signs of spring. Sure enough, Elliott sees a “brave bud” growing in the snow, and he decides that if spring is asleep, he may as well sleep too. The refrain, poetic imagery, and well-paced sentences make this a smooth read-aloud. Yet it’s a bit too text-heavy—explaining too much at times when the art could do the heavy lifting. Kim’s soft, digitally colored graphite pencil illustrations evoke the comfort of the winter cave. The endpapers, featuring slice-of-life depictions of fall and spring, are a fitting frame.

A warm, cozy counterpoint to Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman’s Bear Snores On (2002) but without the “Again! Again!” readability. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-235603-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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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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