COOL CARS

Enhancing the Amazing Machines series aimed at preschoolers, Mitton deals with the vehicles that kids and adults use every day. He offers, however, the unique perspective of the role cars play in our lives: “Cars are really handy / for getting us around.” But there’s so much more. In lilting rhymes, this informal guide glances at the way drivers use signs and signals to navigate streets. It also looks at how a car is driven from the pedals on up, how to keep a car running with gas and care and even how to keep it spiffy with a wash. Mitton touches on different types of cars from off-road vehicles to racing cars. There’s frustration, too, with driving: “Sometimes there’s a traffic jam. / The vehicles all get stuck.” The illustrations, painted in zesty watercolors, have a cartoon appeal featuring round-eyed animals, such as gophers, mice and cats. Topping it all off with a simple diagram of car parts, this is an enjoyable learning tool that will surely ignite curiosity. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 16, 2005

ISBN: 0-7534-5802-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A bright, open primer for Escher.

ANOTHER

A young child discovers a portal to a whole other plane of perspective in Robinson’s latest.

In the dark of night, a portal opens in a small girl’s bedroom, the light attracting her cat. When the curious feline crawls through to chase another cat that looks just like it (but with a different color collar), the little girl cannot help but follow as well. Through the portal, the world goes topsy-turvy—up is down, right is left, and color and shape capriciously collide as the ever smiling girl and her cat move from plane to plane. The duo eventually happens upon other children, all playing with alternate versions of themselves, and after a few page turns, our protagonist—a girl of color with black, beaded braids—spots her alternate self as well. The pair share a few meaningful moments, exchanging smiles and cat toys, until eventually each returns to her bed with the small promise of further adventures to come. The simple geometry of Robinson’s work comes alive in this expanse of wordless narrative. A fearless use of white space and an utter disregard of conventions of direction encourage readers to engage with the physical book as the story unfolds, touching and turning it as they literally take the narrative into their hands.

A bright, open primer for Escher. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2167-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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