As delightful as a balloon—but with more weight.

READ REVIEW

THE BEAR AND THE MOON

A playful bear makes an ephemeral friend.

An expressive little black bear befriends something “red as a berry / and round like the moon / with a long silver string” in this sweet story. The bear has large ears, a white nose, and tottering, toddler-ish proportions sure to charm, and his buoyant companion somehow manages to “smile back at him like a friend” through vibrancy alone. The straightforward writing floats through Chien’s soft-textured, multimedia illustrations with heartwarming ease as the pair dance, find honey, and roll down a hill in glowing, abstract landscapes. When the inevitable occurs, as any little one enamored with something as squishable and huggable as a balloon will learn, the bear’s sorrow overcomes him. “Bad bear, / he thought. / Bad, bad bear. // Night fell, / but the bear / skipped his dinner.” The little bear sinks into deep blue spreads, but his grief melts even the heart of the moon, and with a little celestial reassurance, the bear comes to value his good memories, giving the book a satisfying amount of substance. In the author’s and illustrator’s expert hands, readers are sure to feel lighter than air and ready for bed. The dreamy spread in which the bear receives his message from the moon is worth a mention all on its own, charming and cheerful as the rest of the book may be, as are velvety lavender endpapers featuring the balloon and the moon.

As delightful as a balloon—but with more weight. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7191-3

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2020

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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