Dudley has created the artwork for her wordless debut by crafting a small forest creature, setting him in a handmade forest full of cut-out ferns and dead leaves, and then photographing him in various poses. Hank looks a bit like a baby chimpanzee, or perhaps a baby chimpanzee in a bear costume; his black bead eyes and diminutive snout peer out from a hooded suit. Hank finds an egg on the forest floor that’s fallen from a nest in a branch high over his head. After several unsuccessful attempts to climb the tree, Hank wraps the egg up and gives it to the mother hummingbird, who carries it up herself. He’s rewarded when the egg hatches along with its clutchmates, and three small hummingbirds dance in the air in front of him. Aside from Hank’s trouble climbing the tree, the story is free of threat or conflict and suitable for the very youngest readers. Delicious details like Hank’s twig ladder and carefully moss-wrapped egg show that Dudley is firmly in touch with her inner child. This is an artist to watch. Ages 3–up. (May), ISBN: 978-1-4413-1158-0. More info
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