THERE WAS A TURKEY ON THE FARM

Turkey gets by with a little help from her friends.

At the start of Gorbachev’s farm tale, Turkey laments her friendless state to Cow. After hearing Turkey’s criticisms of Pig, the ducks, Goat, Hen, and Rooster, Cow says, “You will never find any friends if you are so choosy.” Miffed, Turkey leaves the barnyard to try to find friends elsewhere. Gorbachev’s trademark scratchy, full-color illustrations show frogs and fish ignoring her, but then she catch’s a fox’s eye. “I’m Fox, and I want to invite you to the dinner party,” he says. No silly goose, this time Turkey isn’t being critical and choosy when she rejects the invitation; she’s understandably alarmed as Fox tries to drag her by the wing to the forest. She yells for help, and luckily, the farm animals she’d earlier rebuffed hear her and come to her rescue. Fox flees into the forest, and an un-gobbled Turkey is left behind with the farm animals, who bear no ill will toward her and are happy she’s unharmed. When Cow asks her, Turkey admits she was wrong about them but not that she did any wrong herself. The result is an ending that falls a bit flat, with no evidence of real growth, just good fortune that her community was patient with such a turkey.

E-i-e-i-ho-hum. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4425-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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 particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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