From the Sato the Rabbit series , Vol. 2

Sato the Rabbit returns after his eponymous debut (2021) in a set of adventures all about nature.

In this Japanese import, Haneru Sato, the pale-skinned child who dresses as a white rabbit, explores the out-of-doors, manipulating elements in nature in a series of seven delightful and slightly surreal stories. In one, Sato discovers what looks like a small sprout and turns it slowly, as if it were a “green screw.” As he does so, the arid field he stands in fills with green (“pop,” we read, as buds form on trees all around him). In another story, Sato throws a rain party, tying sheets of rain with ribbon and making “rain music” with friends; the shimmering rain sheets, bundled like curtains, make for a magical, indelible image. And in another story, Sato grabs the moon’s reflection from a lake and hangs it out to dry before putting it on his bed and cuddling up beneath it. Each of these stories captures the imaginative wonder of a child’s perspective and embraces a genuine but never cloying whimsy. Compositions vary, with some spreads featuring vignettes and other illustrations taking up every inch of the spread, such as the glorious “shower of green” Sato creates with the turn of the green screw. The artwork pops with color and texture and depicts beautiful, dreamlike vistas. Sato endears himself to readers; he is inquisitive, clever, and generous. (It’s thanks to him that his friends get to visit the “rain-column ballroom.”)

A welcome return. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59270-306-7

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...


A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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From the Scaredy Squirrel series , Vol. 5

When Scaredy Squirrel plans a party, he concentrates on maximum security, not maximum fun. His checklist: "Confirm date of birth; pick a safe location; choose party colors; get tuxedo dry-cleaned; prepare cake recipe; practice breathing (to blow up balloons/blow out candles); mail party invitation to myself." That's right—there’s only one guest at Scaredy's birthday party, and it's himself. But when his chum Buddy sends him a birthday card, he reconsiders his guest list to include his pal, even making the momentous decision to hold his party on the ground instead of in his tree. Replete with the lists and diagrams that are this OCD rodent's hallmarks, the story unfolds with both humor and some useful etiquette tips. From conversational gambits (good: "If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?"; bad: "Is that a muskrat on your head? Oops... it's a toupee") to the "dos and don'ts of partying" (do: sit quietly; don't: double-dip), kids will find much to laugh at and think about. Typically (for a Scaredy adventure), despite a plan so complete it includes tooth-brushing breaks, a surprise happens—party animals show up! Watt’s wry digital illustrations make the most of the perceived mayhem, using a host of graphic conventions to tell her story. There's no question it's a formula by now, but it's still a winning one. Many happy returns, Scaredy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-468-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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