Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Hoot & Honk Just Can't Sleep by Leslie Helakoski

by Leslie Helakoski
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 2 to 5

Dark sky. Wake or doze? 
Some eyes open. Some eyes close. 

Some chicks like day, others like night. Some sleep in the dark, and some in the light. Hoot, an adorable owlet, and Honk, a fuzzy gosling, have just hatched—but their eggs got switched and now they’re in the wrong nests. Will they find their way home? Leslie Helakoski’s gentle, lilting verse and irresistible illustrations make the perfect bedtime story as they capture two adorable babies exploring the world for the first time.  


Words and illustrations weave together seamlessly to create a heart-warming tale and perfect, bedtime read.

A storm causes a mix-up right before two eggs hatch. No matter how warm the nest and accepting the new families are, something isn't quite right. Sleep doesn't come for either new born bird.

The text in this book is kept at a minimum, making every word sit like a piece of poetry. The rest is carried in the cute illustrations, creating a perfect balance between picture and story. The characters are sweet but kept simple, while the colors are bright but never too sunny. It's a warm, gentle scenery, great for helping young eyes to glide into a calmer mode.

Two little baby birds tug at the heart strings as they try to figure out why their new families aren't quite the right fit. A little explanation might be necessary to help listeners understand exactly what's going on. My son did understand the main jest of the story but couldn't identify the one as an owl (although my daughter had no trouble with this). After the bird's identity was explained, both loved the story and flipped through the pictures again and again.

The ending is like wrapping up in a warm blanket of comfort, ideal for drifting off to sleep.

Summed up, this is a lovely picture book with a wonderful bedtime flow. The birds are sweet as can be and kids will immediately feel for them. However, some explanation might be required.

And here she is. . .

Leslie Helakoski is the author of Big Chickens (Puffin Books; the Michigan Reads picture book for 2007, Great Lakes Great Books Award and a GLBA finalist) and Woolbur (HarperCollins; a Book Sense pick for 2008, Florida Reading association Honor Book and nominee for state book awards in nine states.) Her other books include Big Chickens Fly the Coop (Puffin Books), Doggone Feet! (Boyds Mills Press), and Fair Cow (Two Lions).

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