Cucco’s vibrant illustrations, published posthumously, make Miller’s simple tale with its valuable message something special.

WINSTON & GEORGE

An exploration of the unusual friendship between the crocodile and the crocodile bird.

George the bird and Winston the croc spend every day together, fishing the river where they both live. George perches on the end of Winston’s nose and peers into the water. When he sees a fish, he shouts “DIVE!” Winston does so and brings up a tasty meal for them both. But George is a prankster. As Winston sleeps in the cooling water, George gives him a big push, and the croc drifts several miles downstream, far from home. When he returns, the other crocodiles mock him and encourage him to “eat up that bird.” But the thought of fishing without George makes him too sad to even answer. George fools Winston again, goading him to dive into a big mud bank. The joke goes sour when Winston becomes stuck, and a small herd of hippos is needed to free him. It’s time for Winston to teach George a lesson. The amusing tale plays out in energetic watercolor cartoons reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer, laid out in an expansive landscape orientation. The book was first written in the 1960s but remained unpublished until now, and that story is worth the price of admission all by itself. There’s also a helpful informative page about real crocodile birds and crocodiles.

Cucco’s vibrant illustrations, published posthumously, make Miller’s simple tale with its valuable message something special. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59270-145-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A decent romp with a few drawbacks.

EVEN SUPERHEROES MAKE MISTAKES

Caped crusaders take responsibility.

Everybody makes mistakes, even superheroes. This picture book uses rhyming couplets and playful, cartoon artwork to illustrate a variety of scenarios in which masked avengers mess up. They trip and fall, they catch “the wrong guys,” they even oversleep. Regardless of their missteps, heroes always get back up and try again, and they certainly do their best to set things right. The author’s sermon on personal responsibility is a bit too long, but little readers will enjoy the variety of superheroics on display. The mix of superhero-specific misdeeds (muffing the alignment of a bridge they are building) with totally unrelated ones (singing off-key) feels totally arbitrary and a little unkind, but for children facing difficulties with their own behavior, this picture book that acknowledges that “perfection is rare” and an apology goes far certainly hits the spot. The illustrations are suitably dynamic and colorful, boasting a range of male and female superheroes of various sizes and colors. Two negatives to the art: A preponderance of identified “bandits” appear to be people of color, and all three female heroes are wasp-waisted, and two wear short shorts and midriff-baring tops while the guys are covered head to toe. These trends really, really need to go.

A decent romp with a few drawbacks. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2703-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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