Friendships do indeed come in all shapes and sizes.

BUTTERCUP THE BIGFOOT

A youngster with a penchant for howling finds the perfect companion.

Willa Cathcart Wilmerding is bold and clever. She climbs supertall trees, befriends arachnids, and can even spell the word “H-E-L-I-C-O-P-T-E-R.” But every Friday night, Willa climbs to the roof of her house and howls at the moon. It doesn’t have anything to do with werewolves—she just enjoys howling. (The howls tumble and stretch across the pages as she bellows.) When her mom admonishes her, Willa decides to run away to the mountains where she can howl in peace. However, the mountains are also where Bigfoot lives. And Bigfoot likes to howl just as much as Willa. (This particular version is shaggy, pink, and female.) After a bit of a standoff, the two become fast friends. Willa decides to name her new friend Buttercup. But when Willa’s mom comes on a helicopter and tells her she misses her, sadly the pair is separated. The convenient wrap-up involves the woolly creature’s arrival in the city, where she joins Willa’s life. Everything seems a bit off-kilter (why does Willa howl? Why is her skin tinted blue, with schoolmates having a variety of normal and outlandish tones?), but the romp skims along the surface to simply tell a quirky story of friendship. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 36.5% of actual size.)

Friendships do indeed come in all shapes and sizes. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20934-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Silvestro and Chen take a common figure of speech and transform it, literally, into a lovely expression of a universal...

BUTTERFLIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Rosie has been looking forward to the first day of school for a month, practicing writing her letters and raising her hand. But the night before the big day, she begins to have second thoughts.

“I don’t feel well,” she says the next morning. “You just have butterflies in your belly,” her mother replies with a hug. And sure enough, when a girl on the school bus asks her name, a butterfly escapes from Rosie’s mouth along with the answer. Rosie’s trepidation about new experiences tugs on readers’ hearts, but as the butterflies that only she can see are released every time she participates in class, her expressions grow more confident and joyful. Finally, Rosie uses her new confidence to help another classmate who looks like she has a belly full of butterflies as well. Colorful illustrations depict children of varying skin tones with surprisingly expressive round black eyes; Rosie and her family present subtly Asian. Young readers who are worried about school will find a reassuring way to put their feelings into words, and the warm ending gives a wink to caregivers who may also find themselves feeling nervous about the first day of school.

Silvestro and Chen take a common figure of speech and transform it, literally, into a lovely expression of a universal experience. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2119-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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