Crinkle, Crackle, Crack: It's Spring

illus. by John Shelley. 32p. Holiday House. Apr. 2015. RTE $16.95. ISBN 9780823429523; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823433520. LC 2013012235.
PreS-Gr 2—Wakened by strange sounds on a late winter night, a child ventures to the door and sees a bear standing in the yard. The shaggy animal issues an invitation to follow saying, "It is time." As they venture into the woods, they listen to the sounds around them and the bear insists that the time is right, but for what? Breezes and buds echo the refrain as do a rabbit, squirrel, and beaver that join the snowy walk. Their destination? A huge nest topped by a gigantic egg that bursts open with a tremendous "crack" and releases a shower of birds, flowers, and butterflies to usher in spring. The twisted branches and gnarled roots of Shelley's trees recall the illustrations for Halloween Forest (Holiday House, 2012), a previous author/artist pairing. But these India ink and watercolor illustrations, including the fuzzy woodland animals, are inviting, not scary. Bauer's text flirts with rhyme and repetition that could have created read-aloud engagement but settles for prose that yields no surprises.
VERDICT An adequate but not essential purchase for collections whose readers need a glimpse of spring as winter drags on.

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