Wrapping up on a comforting note sure to set toddlers’ heads bobbing, this fanciful vision of what happens in the wee hours...

THE WEE HOURS

Children will be tickled to see the wee hours of the morning come to life as irresistible, toddlerlike imps in this whimsical tale.

Wee Hours One through Four, all carefully numbered, arrive one by one in a sleeping child’s bedroom upon their associated clock-strike (youngsters will eagerly search for the clock in each spread to double-check the time). Each mischief-maker pulls a little something from the slumberer’s dreams and incorporates it into playtime: One O’Clock bounces the sun like a ball; Two teaches the birds tricks; Three frees the horses for a jumping contest; Four releases the dinosaurs and leads all the creatures in a parade. All the while, the cat and goldfish look on, but the sleeper is never roused. The text has a cadence that lightly trips along. Luminous pastel illustrations—full-spread, characterized by reassuringly plump, rounded lines and innocently joyful faces, and featuring increasingly free-wheeling, off-kilter perspectives—capture the action. Just when the rumpus seems about to burst right out of the book, Five O’Clock arrives. Like a big brother, he soothes the Wee Hours with stories and back rubs and begins to clean up, aided by Six and Seven O’Clock.

Wrapping up on a comforting note sure to set toddlers’ heads bobbing, this fanciful vision of what happens in the wee hours is the delightful nonsense of dreams. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4038-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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