A fresh and funny story of a good-natured soul who marches—with perseverance and gusto—to his own drummer.

SILLI'S SHEEP

Silli is a lovable fool who lives in an alpine meadow and solves his problems in the most unlikely ways.

The rosy-cheeked fellow is completely content to sleep next to his large sack of belongings, with “nothing but moonbeams for a bed”—until the wind blows. Then, “Silli felt…chilly.” The cartoon caricatures have a childlike feel; they portray a white, wispy-haired man with a long, oval face, a prominent, red nose, and a mobile expression. Having decided to search for sheep (so he can make yarn and knit a sweater), he spots five likely candidates on a neighboring mountain. Readers will immediately realize that they are rock formations, but there is much humor in Silli’s attempts to get them to follow him, including his imitation of a sheepdog. After carrying each one home, he breaks his shears trying to trim the “wool” and unsuccessfully tries to soften it with conditioner. He eventually—inadvertently—does create a wind barrier. As it starts to snow, and Silli drifts off dreaming of a cow so he can make hot chocolate, an actual sheep peers in at him. Stone’s narrative has the cadences and pacing of a classic tale, and she knows just where to leave room for Thomas to fill in his own comical touches. The result is a rollicking good time.

A fresh and funny story of a good-natured soul who marches—with perseverance and gusto—to his own drummer. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4852-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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