A beautiful but minor effort from two immensely talented creators.

THE MOON'S ALMOST HERE

A parent-child pair observes the coming of night and the reactions of various (mostly domesticated) animals and their offspring.

MacLachlan uses a simple four-line rhyme scheme and intensifies the lulling quality of her text by starting the first six stanzas with the title sentence: “The moon’s almost here.” The lines that follow describe the animals settling down and/or heading home in their pastoral setting. As the moon begins to rise, the pattern of the rhyme stays the same (abcb), but the first line varies and the tone increases in intimacy. From “out in the meadow,” where "the fireflies blink bright," to “my bed,” where a little kitten curls up cozily, then back into the night to greet the moon, the voice becomes the child’s. DePaola’s acrylic paintings in his signature style depict the parent figure as a white-faced, pantomime Pierrot, accompanied by a ginger-haired, preschool-sized white child of indeterminate gender. Subtle shadings of color capture the magical changes brought on by the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon. Stylized shapes turn leaves and flowers into appealing patterns, while the white clothing of parent and child seems to glow against the darkening background. While the illustrations are undeniably lovely and the words flow smoothly and soothingly, however, overall this seems slight and somewhat predictable.

A beautiful but minor effort from two immensely talented creators. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2062-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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.

HEY, DUCK!

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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