Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Short. Sweet. Silly. Series. Superb.

As this year of years winds down, there are stacks of books to still be highlighted and one very large stack to be read before the 2021 releases are embraced.  Books in a series are beloved by many a reader.  We crave a return to characters we love.  We desire to visit settings where we wish we could walk.  We laugh at the silliness, we thrill at the adventures, and we sigh at the touching sweetness.  

This year there was an abundance of series continuations and some promising new series beginnings (and one single title).  A favorite of numerous readers is the hilarity found in the friendship of a homebody tree dweller and a feathered adventurer.  The first book in this graphic novel series, Bird & Squirrel On The Run! hooked readers immediately.  Each of the following books, Bird & Squirrel On Ice, Bird & Squirrel On The Edge!, Bird & Squirrel On Fire, and Bird & Squirrel All Tangled Up deliver exactly what readers need: strong bonds of friendship from unlikely characters engaging in non-stop action adventures brimming with high-octane emotions and loads of laughter.  The sixth book, Bird & Squirrel All or Nothing (Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., April 21, 2020) written and illustrated by James Burks, takes the duo to the desert where they tackle the Horned Toad 500, a grueling race.  Bird is under pressure to uphold a family legacy.  Squirrel wants to be anywhere but in a desert, but, he loves his friend.





Bird has no desire to participate in this race.  All his father has ever cared about is winning rather than giving Bird support regardless of his endeavors.  Squirrel, not one for escapades of any sort, decides to surprise Bird, taking him to Cactus Creek.  The discussion with Bird's dad does not go well.  The twosome spends the night, deciding to watch the race begin and then leave.

As you might expect, Bird & Squirrel are bullied into participating.  The main goal is not to die during any one of the five challenges.  HA!  Like life, the other four participants present a variety of choices for the pals.  There are victories.  There are setbacks.  There is more to being a winner than winning a race.  Hold on, readers.  You don't want to miss being at this finish line.

Appealing to readers of all age, James Burks has a bounty of wisdom and wit in his narrative told entirely through dialogue.  The banter between all the contestants in the race is lively, revealing personalities of those involved.  He introduces unique characters including the frightening Two Claws and Lizzy who appears more dead than alive.  Here is an exchange between Bird and Squirrel in the first stage as dastardly contestants Garoo and Crow try to eliminate them on a narrow towering mountain path.




The matching dust jacket and book case are our first clue that this duo is in for some hair-raising exploits.  James Burks alternates his panel sizes, even including full-page pictures and double-page visuals, panels within panels and elements from one panel bleeding into another panel.  To designate past events grayscale images are depicted.  There are ample sound effects to elevate the ramifications of the rousing race.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is a series of panels right after the dialogue above noted.  Garoo and Crow manage to force Bird and Squirrel off the edge of the cliff.  (In this stage of the race, one partner is pushing the other partner in a wheelbarrow.  Bird is pushing Squirrel.)  The expressions on the faces of Bird and Squirrel reflect their true horror.  When they hit another portion of the path, go down a series of ridges, race up a curved slope and leave this roller coaster of a ride, all the sound effects and their faces will have you grinning at the very least.

To learn more about James Burks and his other work, please follow the link attached to his name to access his website.  James Burks has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

When the children's literature world met brothers Ralphie and Louie, they knew this was going to be no ordinary sibling duo.  The first book, The Infamous Ratsos, garnered a coveted Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book Award in 2017.  Book two, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid, and book three, The Infamous Ratsos Project Fluffy, continued to entertain and engage readers.  In the fourth book, The Infamous Ratsos Camp Out (Candlewick Press, May 12, 2020) written by Karen LaReau with illustrations by Matt Myers, readers will rejoice in all the perks and problems of being in the outdoors.   


The Infamous Ratsos were leaving
the Big City . . . temporarily.

"We're almost there, Big City Scouts!" says Big Lou.

Their dad, Big Lou, is taking Ralphie and Louie and the crew of scouts camping.  Each scout has an agenda and expectations.  And imagine everyone's surprise when they arrive at the campground to find Grandpa Ratso there.  What could go wrong?

Setting up tents, attempting to catch fish for dinner, and trying to start a fire have less than perfect results.  Then it starts to rain. There is a lot of grumbling, too much discussion, and not enough guidance.

The next day should be better, but hunger is making everyone a tad bit grumpy.  Although a spectacular view makes a too-long hike worthwhile, getting lost is not part of the plan.  Neither is poison ivy.  Thankfully, a former Big City Scout, arrives in the nick of time.  Perhaps the best lesson learned by all the scouts is everyone needs to recognize when they need help.

Author Kara LaReau knows her intended audience and her characters.  Her dialogue is a lively blend of characteristic exchanges between older and younger scouts, especially those who think they know what to do versus those who educate themselves on what to do.  There is also an older generational verbal debate at times between Big Lou and his father, Grandpa Ratso.  Here is a passage. 

"I don't want anyone's help!" cries Louie.  "Big City Scouts are supposed to do everything for themselves!"
"Duh, then come down," says Sid.
"Are you crazy?" says Louie.  "Have you seen how high up I am?"
"Well, you can't stay up there forever," says Millicent.
"Definitely not," says Velma, assessing the tree.  "I see a lot of mushrooms on this trunk, and a lot of dead branches on the ground.  From what I've read, those are signs that the tree is damaged or dying."
"When we need your help, we'll ask for it," says Sid.  "Which we never will."

With his adept skill in bringing these animals to life, illustrator Matt Myers' details will captivate readers.  The antics portrayed of the characters will have readers laughing with understanding.  Although there is no doubt as to the setting, it is the focus on the individuals in the story which readers appreciate the most.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is a full-page picture.  It is of Louie clinging to the tree, afraid to climb down.  (For avid tree climbers, this is a well-known scenario.)  The tree is in the center with some evergreens in the background.  Two other campers, Ralphie and Tiny, have spotted Louie.  Louie is trying to retrieve a frisbee snared in the tree branches.

To learn more about Kara LaReau and Matt Myers and their other work, please follow the link attached to their names to access their websites.  Kara LaReau has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Matt Myers has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  At the publisher's website you can read an excerpt and there is a discussion guide. 

In twenty-five books readers were entertained and educated about life with Piggie and Gerald.  The duo has decided, although, their adventures have ended, they want to endorse other fine titles for early readers.  Thus, the series Elephant & Piggie Like Reading was born in 2016.  The most recent title What About Worms!?(Hyperion Books for Children (Disney), May 19, 2020) written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins (and Mo Willems) is loaded with laughter, one frightened tiger and a bunch of worms. 

Yes, Piggie?

I have a new book,
but I cannot make heads or tails of it.
Why not?

Because it is about WORMS!

With an introduction by Piggie and Gerald readers are ready to read about one conflicted tiger.  This tiger struts and brags about his fearlessness except for worms.  His explanation of this fear is apt to be shared by others.  Each thing he enjoys, flowers, apples and books leads him, through his logic, to worms.

He finally runs away believing a book he finds is about worms.  Then, worms make an entrance.  They can't believe their good fortune.  This tiger has left them dirt, an apple, and a book.  They can hardly wait to give him multiple wormy hugs! (The tiger is still running.) Piggie and Gerald return to offer their commentary on this tail . . . er . . . tale.

Short concise declarative sentences by Ryan T. Higgins actively interest readers.  We are privy to the monologue of tiger as he relates his worm phobia in exact detail and false assumptions.  If we are not already laughing enough, when Ryan T. Higgins introduces the worms into the narrative, the giggles will begin in earnest.  Here is a passage.

What if it is
a book about . . .


Was that a tiger?
I am afraid of tigers.
Me too.

The front of the book case tells us a lot about the state of this tiger's mind.  The colors shown here are used throughout the story with varying backgrounds of white, yellow, and dark spring green.  Usually the images are single-page pictures, edge to edge.  For dramatic effect double-page pictures convey the mood of the tiger (and the worms).  Exaggerated facial features and body postures in Ryan T. Higgins' signature style heighten the laughter factor.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is on a single page.  Tiger is thinking about the connections between apples and worms.  He has just taken a huge bite of an apple.  Now he is wondering if there is a worm in the apple he just ate.  The background is yellow.  We are close to tiger's face.  He is looking a bit worried with concerned eyes and his mouth in a small circle.  He is uttering a single soft word

Oh . . .

If you desire to learn more about Ryan T. Higgins and his other work, please follow the link attached to his name to access his page on his agent's website.  Ryan T. Higgins has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  You can find multiple videos on YouTube with Ryan T. Higgins chatting about his work, his studio and offering drawing lessons.

Books about books can be true crowd pleasers, but it takes the perfect pairing of text, images, and pacing for it to succeed.  When humor is a part of the mix, giggles will demand repeat readings.  Who Ate My Book? (Penguin Young Readers, June 9, 2020) written and illustrated by Tina Kugler begins with a question for which we have a rather good idea about the answer.  It's the getting there which generates the comedy.

My Goat
My pet is a goat.
Hello, goat.

My goat ate his oats.
My goat ate my boat.

My goat ate my coat.

Clearly the girl with the pet goat does not want the pet goat any longer.  In the blink of an eye, after telling us about all the attributes of the goat, it runs away.

We next meet a boy with a pet fish.  While the boy is enjoying all the joy of having a pet fish, a certain goat is entering the scene.  The goat's girl and the boy find themselves chasing the goat because it is consuming all the boy's items (but not the fish).

The goat tears off on a run to climb a nearby fence.  There a girl is playing with her canine companion.  She loves everything her dog does and is.  The goat jumps this fence.  Goat meet dog.  Dog meet goat.  Wait!  Goat!  Stop eating!

Short, unnumbered chapters introduce the three pets to readers using easily understandable sentences penned by Tina Kugler.  Each time a character has us meet their pet, when the goat is noticed, and when it eats something, the same words are used.  Rhyming words supply readers with a pleasing cadence.  When a sentence states what the goat is eating, the humor increases.  There is nothing this goat won't eat, including this book.  Here is an additional passage.

Look, I see a goat.
Hello, goat.
The goat ate my plate.
The goat ate my skate.

The wide-eyed looks on all the characters made with circles and dots convey a range of emotions when created by Tina Kugler.  Full color images in a variety of sizes complement the pacing.  The position of the goat in each scenario is hilarious, especially when the text is speaking about another pet with the goat in the background causing a new kind of chaos.

One of my many, many favorite pictures is when the girl says:

Do you want a pet goat?

This image is on a single page.  Within a square shape, with lots of white space around it, is the girl and her goat.  The goat has just eaten her coat.  Now it is chewing on one of her hair braids.  The goat looks pretty happy.  The girl is completely disgusted.

To learn more about Tina Kugler and her other work, please access her website by following the link attached to her name.  Tina Kugler has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

As long as they are not feasting on my perennials or shrubs, nothing is cuter than the wild rabbits cavorting around my property and the nearby fields and woods.  There are babies in the spring so tiny you can hold them in the palm of your hand.  There are ones who have lived a long time.  They are huge!  One of the sweetest and most lovable bunnies to find a home in the children's literature world was welcomed late summer.  Bunbun & Bonbon Fancy Friends (Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, September 1, 2020) written and illustrated by Jess Keating is the first book in a charming new series.  What do a bunny and candy have in common?  Let's find out.


Bunbun had it all.
A delightful Bunbun nose,
a winning Bunbun smile,
a ridiculously cute
Bunbun tail . . . 

And not one,
but TWO adorable
Bunbun ears.

Readers, are you thinking what I am thinking?  What Bunbun needs is a friend.  It's not for lack of trying that Bunbun does not have a friend.  Everything in her woods is cheerfully greeted, even what she sees as a rock.  At least she thinks it is a rock, until it talks to her!

She is so excited she has found a talking rock, but it is not a rock.  It is a special candy, a bonbon.  And this candy, Bonbon, is fancy.  Bonbon has two bow ties.  They know they can do all kinds of fancy things and use fancy words like grandiose.  They can have a fancy garden party!  In the garden they find not only food, but a new friend with . . . you guessed it . . . fancy hats!  Their first day together gets better with more food and more fun.  Best friends forever.

Every word choice by Jess Keating is carefully selected to supply readers with an overall feeling from beginning to end of this story.  And that feeling, my friends, is pure joy. Nearly all the dialogue appears in speech bubbles except for dramatic flairs which are much larger and in all capital letters or to announce a new chapter.  That's another thing.  The chapters flow with ease from one to the next.  Here is a passage.

I have a purple candy
shell, a sugary candy body,
and not one but TWO
sparkling candy eyes!

Oh my carrots.
A talking candy! 

Jess Keating outlines each element in her images with a distinctive black line, even her smaller items.  Her full color illustrations employ the less is more philosophy masterfully.  Each panel is framed with the same line, but those frames are broken to fashion a fluidity.  Sometimes the panels in this graphic novel are abandoned to become full-page or double-page pictures.  The expressions on Bunbun and Bonbon and their body movements are fabulous.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is when Bunbun and Bonbon are talking about all the fancy words they can say, all the fancy things they can do, and all the fancy food to be eaten.  They have just said the words fancy sprinkles.  On a pale blue background replete with sprinkles and smiling tiny stars are Bunbun and Bonbon jumping for joy and upside down.  Their fancy bows have come off their heads from all the leaping.  Their eyes are closed in contentment as they exclaim the words.

If you wish to learn more about Jess Keating, be sure to access her website by following the link attached to her name.  She has multiple resources on her website to accompany this book.  Jess Keating has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  If you are registered, you can view a previous book shop event about this book here.  Jess Keating was featured on Scholastic's Ambassador of School Libraries John Schumacher's Book Joy Live

Friendship depicted through improbable pairings makes for refreshing reading.  If this friendship is between beings residing under the sea, readers will enjoy the visit even more.  Squidding Around Fish Feud! (Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, September 1, 2020) written and illustrated by Kevin Sherry explores a watery world, its inhabitants, and the maintaining of a lasting friendship.


Good morning!

Hey! Wait up!

And I'm having too much fun
squidding around 
to go to school!

Get it?

But we're 
gonna be

Squizzard is on a roll, telling us about his distinguishing features.  He presents his best friend Toothy to us, also enumerating his finest features.  He elaborates on the attributes of their friendship.  This is our first inkling this relationship is unbalanced.  Squizzard always puts himself first, taking advantage of Toothy to his heart's content.  On their arrival at Seaweed Elementary when the students begin sharing their weekly oral reports, a fight between Toothy and Squizzard dissolves a life-long companionship.

Squizzard is despondent.  Another classmate, Shay, a seahorse, helps him understand his attitude through several trial-and-error situations.  It's not easy for this squid with a me-first outlook.  How is he going to win back Toothy's trust?

Told entirely through dialogue, using a blend of narrative and facts, Kevin Sherry has readers inwardly cheering for this twosome.  It's very clever how the information becomes a part of the story. Wordplay contributes to the overall cheerfulness.  Here is a passage. 

Benny Barracuda 
Bad attitude
Razor-sharp teeth
Torpedo-shaped body

It's a . . .
fifth grader!

Look what we have here!

Oh, sweet angelfish!

Two little seaweeds . . .
I smell calamari!

Maybe it's your breath.



Who do you think
you are? Gilliam
Stephen King Crab?

Full-color illustrations in an array of panel sizes fill each page beginning with three narrow vertical panels on page one to signify the depths we descend to follow this tale.  The sea creatures are highly animated with large eyes, conveying a range of emotions. The perspectives presented bring us close to each portion of this evolving friendship and with Squizzard's classmates.

One of my many, many favorite images is a two-third's page panel in the first chapter.  Squizzard exclaims:


And Toothy giggles and says:


Squizzard's eyes are enormous with concentration.  His mouth is a big toothy grin.  All his arms are gathered looking a bit like a skirt.  Ink squirts and clouds out of his bottom.  To his right Toothy, wearing a backpack, uses his front fins to cover his laughter.  His eyes are squinted closed with mirth.

To learn more about the work of Kevin Sherry and himself, follow the link attached to his name to access his website.  Kevin Sherry has active accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

Nothing is funnier than a protagonist at constant odds with an unseen narrator, especially if it begins with the title of the book.  See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog (Candlewick Press, September 8, 2020) penned by David LaRochelle with illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka is hilarious with a capital H.  This canine couldn't be more comedic as he presents not once, not twice, but three times his expectations of his world as it should be.

Story Number One
See the Cat

See the cat.
I am not a cat.
I am a dog.

With each page turn, the narrator (the book) says one thing on the right in direct conflict with the dog on the left.  There is no cat named Babycakes wearing a green dress riding a . . . Oh . . .  my mistake.  Can we go to the next story?

What? A snake?  The snake is mad?  Why are you doing this to me?  I need an eraser.  Thank goodness. That is much better.  At least in story three, the dog is recognized.  With recognition comes demands the dog is unwilling to satisfy.  Not even the presence of a giant animal is going to change this dog's mind.  At last, the dog gets its deepest wish granted.

Clearly, David LaRochelle has a keen sense of humor.  It is prevalent on each page we read.  His short sentences, the dialogue between Max and the unseen narrator, are cleverly placed to provide excellent pacing.  It is this pacing which gives us the growing frustration of Max.  We wonder, along with Max, if the book is ever going to get this right.  Here is another exchange between the two.

See the snake.
Here we go again.

The snake is under the dog.
(Max says nothing but his expression is of sheer terror.) 

Truthfully, can you look at the front book case cover and not laugh?  The dog, Max, obviously knows something is not quite proper.  How can a book be about a dog with that title?  The dog's body, paws on hips, his mouth, ears, and eyes convey his chagrin. Generous use of white space and the cream canvas are used throughout the book by Mike Wohnoutka.  I can't help but wonder if Mike Wohnoutka has a canine companion; his portrayals are that authentic.  If you want your soul to sing, turn a page.

One of my many, many favorite pictures is opposite a rare blank white page for the narrator.  Max is not speaking either.  Maybe he is out of breath after the rant on the previous two pages.  Max is standing on his favorite rug facing forward with his head turned to the right.  He is clearly startled, completely surprised.  Readers get a glimpse of the reason as small elements appear.  Pink legs, a pink head, and a very distinguishing characteristic identify the new arrival.  It is guaranteed readers will be rolling on the floor with laughter.

To learn more about David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka and their other work, please follow the link attached to their name to access their respective websites.  David LaRochelle has an account on Facebook.  Mike Wohnoutka has accounts on Facebook and Instagram.  At the publisher's website you can download an activity kit and teacher's guide.  At Penguin Random House you can view interior images.  This book is highlighted at author, reviewer, and blogger Julie Danielson's Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  

There is hardly anything more intrusive than the presence of a skunk.  We even get the whiff of one and we head for the hills in the opposite direction.  From experience, we know their smell lingers in the best of situations.  It is not really their fault; they are being themselves.  Skunk And Badger (Algonquin Young Readers, September 15, 2020) written by Amy Timberlake with pictures by Jon Klassen is an enchanting tale, a first book in a series, about an introvert partnered with an extrovert.  It is a humorous clash between someone set in their ways and another who embraces everything with exuberance.


and shut the front door.

It seems that Badger's negligence in reading the last few letters from Aunt Lula has placed him in the uncomfortable position of not knowing he would be acquiring a roommate in his aunt's home.  At first, he is less than welcoming, but a breakfast prepared by Skunk the next morning has him temporarily mollified. He is laughing at the Rocket Potato, until thoughts of cleaning up the kitchen stall his good nature in its proverbial tracks.

Skunk moves into Badger's Box Room removing boxes and renaming it his Moon Room.  Badger's Important Rock Work is constantly interrupted.  Chickens start showing up in the neighborhood.  Where are the chickens coming from?  When danger threatens the chickens, Badger realizes he is becoming attached to Skunk and remarkably to the one-hundred chickens now inside the brownstone.  This attachment lessens after an early-morning leap leaves Badger in bad shape. What happens next is to be expected but is it what Badger really wants or more importantly needs?

The personalities of these animals as defined and depicted by Amy Timberlake are endearing to a fault.  It is easy for readers to see bits and pieces of themselves in both Badger and Skunk.  The appearance of the chickens elevates the comedy, as well as reminding readers there will always be those who need our care.  The descriptive narrative, the thoughts of Badger and the conversations between Badger and Skunk are exemplary.  Here are several passages.

A thought followed:  What if he is Someone Important?
Badger raced through the front hallway, threw back the 
bolts, unlatched the chain, and opened the door.
Not one was there.
A bird sang.  A breeze twisted past. The air smelled of honey.
He stepped out onto the stoop.  The letter box and flowerpot
were empty.  He did not find anything tacked to the back of the
door.  Badger frowned.  Someone Important would have left a note.
On the sidewalk below, a gray-and-white-speckled chicken 
stopped. It eyed Badger---first with the left eye, then with the right.
A chicken?  In North Twist? Badger never saw chickens.

Skunk continued:  "Because breakfast is the nicest meal, you
should have candlelight at breakfast.  If at all possible.  Sometimes
it is not possible.  Sometimes you are eating where there is not a
candle.  Or sometimes there is a candle shortage, and no one has 
candles.  That is sad, particularly for breakfast."

When you open the dust jacket the scene on the front, right, continues over the spine to the far left.  We are given another look at the interior of the brownstone as Badger first sets his eyes on Skunk.  Beneath the dust jacket artist Jon Klassen elaborates on the interior of the home expanding his illustration up to the ceiling.  The intricate details, the wash of brown, and the play of shadow and light are signature strokes of Klassen genius.  The opening and closing endpapers are a pattern of different labeled rocks sketched in black on cream.  Throughout the book are full color pictures and sketches.

One of my many, many favorite images is during the first breakfast.  Badger and Skunk are seated at the table, a single candle lighting their meal.  The table appears to be tucked into a nook. Pots and pans hang overhead.  Shelves hold bowls and a pitcher.  You want to step into this setting and share the meal with them.

To learn more about Amy Timberlake and Jon Klassen and their other work, please follow the link attached to Amy's name to access her website or Jon's name to access his Tumblr account.  Amy Timberlake has an account on Twitter.  Jon Klassen has accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  At the publisher's website you can read an excerpt of the first chapter.  You can also see the full dust jacket.  Amy Timberlake is interviewed at MG Book Village about this book.  At School Library Journal A Fuse #8 Production written and hosted by Elizabeth Bird is the cover reveal and an interview with Amy Timberlake.  There is a Q & A with Amy Timberlake at Publishers Weekly.

When we know another title in a new series is coming in the same year, we find it hard not to count down the weeks until its arrival.  Thankfully, the second book following the Fox & Rabbit debut came a five short months later.  Fox & Rabbit Make Believe (Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 15, 2020) written by Beth Ferry with illustrations by Gergely Dudas is full of as much fun, friendship and appearances of the letter F as the first book.



Hooray! Hooray!
We have all this money.

From what?

From our lemonade stand!
Don't you remember?

Of course I do!

They might not have enough money to buy an ice cream shop, but they have enough money for ice cream cones for themselves and a couple of their friends.  Before long Fox has none and notices another thing they can do with their money.  It's a bubble-blowing contest.  One exploded bubble and a bad haircut later, Fox has disappeared.  Fox found again; the friends wander over to the playground.

There they meet a new friend., Owl.  Owl's imagination is wild and a whole lot of wonderful.  In stories four and five the friends enjoy an autumn day at a farm picking out pumpkins, exploring a maze which in their minds is a very scary adventure, and finally experience the best time carving pumpkins ever.  (Turtle finally arrives at the perfect time.)

Told entirely in dialogue this graphic novel title penned by Beth Ferry is pure delight.  The conversations flow effortlessly, and we learn about the ebb and flow of old friends and new friends.  Fox and Rabbit are fast friends, but they manage to include Sparrow and Turtle and Owl in their adventures. Beth Ferry weaves the power of story through imagination into this narrative and inventively includes alliteration and word play.  Here is a passage.

There you are, Fox!

I'm only half here.
The other half is
on the floor of
Flamingo's shop.

Well, you do look a little different.

I know.

But I'm pretty sure you're
exactly the same Fox
on the inside that
you've always been.

Are you sure?

Sure as swings.   

If you are looking for fun, the front of the book case cover makes you wish for your own pile of leaves to jump into with total abandon.  The full color images of Gergely Dudas splash across the pages in marvelous merriment.  On the title page Fox is laughing at Sparrow who has put two leaves on her head in imitation of Rabbit.  It's this attention to detail which has readers pausing to look at his artwork.  A circular image is placed opposite, on the left, of each story title on the right.  The panels are altered in size to reflect the storyline and pacing.  Sometimes we are gifted with full-page or double-page pictures.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is the last double-page illustration, the final image in the story.  And that's all I'm going to say, except . . .  This visual conveys a lot about Fox, Rabbit, Sparrow, Turtle, and Owl and what they've shared.  Fred the stuffed toy lion is there too.

To learn more about Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudas, please follow the link attached to their names to access their respective websites.  Beth Ferry has accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Gergely Dudas has accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.  He also has a blog.  At the publisher's website you can view multiple interior pages.

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