This sweet read will encourage young ones to look at everyday items in brand-new ways.

ONE SNOWY MORNING

One snowy morning, two forest friends stumble across an unexpected surprise…a snowman.

Readers who ever wondered what forest creatures think when they come across elements of humanity in their natural world need wonder no more, and they will delight in the naiveté of this woodland’s denizens. They see not a snowman but a “giant pile of snow” with “long wooden legs” (its arms) “lumpy kickballs” (the nuggets of coal used for its eyes) and even a “dragon tooth” (its carrot nose). But what to do with all of this newfound treasure? The squirrel and chipmunk who kick the action off have an idea that will surely surprise the rest of their friends and bring them all together. Children and adults alike will have fun watching these little critters as they creatively play with top hat, mittens, and scarf before discovering each of the snowman’s components’ actual purpose: ingredients for dragon-tooth soup, fuel to cook it with, and a table and accessories. Whimsical, playful illustrations depict these critters' cozily appointed home, full of rodent-sized human appurtenances. It’s all so dear that readers may not wonder how it is that the snowman’s accessories are such a mystery to animals who have a well-appointed kitchen that includes cans of tomatoes, a pepper grinder, and a great many very nice-looking pots and pans.

This sweet read will encourage young ones to look at everyday items in brand-new ways. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3041-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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