Animals plan to go on a picnic in this math concept book that just misses. Rabbit and Frog plan a picnic. They are bringing 12 sandwiches. “Does that sound like enough for two of us?” “Hmmm. Okay,” replies the frog. The critical problem lies with the uninspired language of the text and Walrod’s (The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, 1999, etc.) quirky, cheerful cut-paper collages lack of visual support required for the math concepts. Napoli (Albert, p. 263, etc.) adds another participant and then the friends need to divide 12 by 3. Again the art shows 12 cookies in rows of threes—but the sandwiches are nowhere to be seen. A crow joins the group bringing the total to 4. She brings a case of 12 pudding packs. “ . . . three rice puddings each,” says the rabbit, yet absolutely no reinforcement from the illustration—just a square white box with the label “12 puddings.” Add twin turtles, which bring along 12 sticks of gum. The rabbit says 2 of everything for each of us though the facing page shows the turtles holding the sticks of gum in groups of 3. Confusing? You bet. There’s also a continuity problem: when an additional 6 participants are added, there are 12 slices of watermelon to share. Turn the page and the watermelon is whole again. The lack of clarity continues to the end when a 13th picnicker arrives with no food to add; three pages are now taken up with dithering of how to divide the food, then everything is divided in half to have enough. The text states that there will be 11 halves left over, neglecting to show or explain how the frog arrived at that conclusion. A miscalculation through and through. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83389-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An early reader that kids will want to befriend.


In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime.


Quiet but joyful, this is an original story based on a traditional theme found in many cultures.

The author’s note mentions that in some Native American cultures, as well as in China, Korea and Japan, the trope of the rabbit in the moon is well-known. Brooks learned about it from a Lakota elder and then spun her own tale. A young rabbit in a northern clime learns the “Winter Moon Song.” On his way home from rehearsal for the annual performance, he stops in the woods and looks up at the image of the “rabbit-in-the-moon” and remembers the story, told by his mother, of love and sacrifice binding together the Great Mother, Creator Rabbit (imagined by Brooks), and one of her earthly creations, a little rabbit. The song continues to honor this story and is meant to “lighten the darkest month of the year with a trail of magic.” Yet the new singer is not satisfied with the performance. Instead of the churchlike place with candlelight where the rabbits gather, he starts to sing right under the moon, “with the rabbit pattern clearly visible,” beginning a new tradition. The soft watercolors, in subdued gray and deep blue, with some contrasting warm brown and golden shades, set a tranquil tone.

A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-320-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet