Uneven, but children will enjoy the guessing and likely learn something all the same.


From the Guess Who's series

Lift-the-flap lovers explore forest habitats, guessing what animals live in each, in this outing, one of a set of four.

Three clues, two on the verso and one on the flap that’s located on the recto, encourage little ones to guess before lifting the tempting, shaped flaps and revealing a photo cutout of the animal, parts of which peek out the sides and through die-cut holes in the simple cartoon backgrounds. These clues run the gamut in terms of both helpfulness and factuality, some of the “clues” anthropomorphizing the animals: “Who loves to swoop through the trees?” The reveal shows the entire animal along with one or two sentences describing another fact. “I do! I am a gibbon. I can swing up to 30 feet (9 meters) from one branch to another!” The specificity of animals included varies within books and across the set. Generic ones are easy enough for children to guess, but while this title reveals a “snake,” Guess Who’s in the Sand uncovers a “cobra.” Similarly, readers will find a butterfly and a woodpecker among the trees, but a snowy owl and an emperor penguin chick in the Snow. (And strangely, a hippo is in the Grass.) “Talking points” in the back of each book instruct adults as to how to best share the book with children and give the adult-child pair some things to do together, including learning more through research, mapping habitats, doing an activity and looking for similar animals near home.

Uneven, but children will enjoy the guessing and likely learn something all the same. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60992-699-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


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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