A few facts, a lot of fun.


Baby Bear’s mother must use a great deal of persuasion to get her child to hibernate.

Best known for her nonfiction, it appears this award-winning author also has a knack for using simple, fictional stories to keep the attention of young readers while slyly delivering facts about nonhuman animals. Here, the many ploys children use to delay bedtime are used by Baby Bear to avoid hibernation. The first excuse is certainly recognizable: “ ‘But, Mama,’ Baby Bear says. ‘I’m hungry.’ ” Mama indulges her cub through several of his excuses while also explaining some other animals’ winter habits and the reasons that a bear cub must hibernate. Vibrant colors show a northern woodland, bordered by a lake and mountains, that’s rapidly changing from fall into winter. The two black bears are cartoonlike, walking on all fours but with anthropomorphized body language and facial expressions. One funny sequence of vignettes shows Baby Bear unsuccessfully trying to catch a fish. There is also a droll reference to “Goldilocks”: When the bears finally settle in, Baby Bear complains, “This bed is too hard.” Adding more leaves to the den floor is Mama Bear’s last attempt to placate her whiny cub. His final excuse results in her roar of “ENOUGH!” in bold letters. After a humorous closing punchline, backmatter offers more facts and resources about hibernation as well as simple instructions for how a child can pretend to “den like a bear.”

A few facts, a lot of fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943978-36-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Persnickety Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.


From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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