Franklin's sister claims his prized toy as hers, but he does not give it to her.
Franklin enjoys playing with his little sister until she decides Sam, his stuffed dog, is hers. Unfortunately we are only told, and not shown, how he values Sam, so Franklin's conflict with his sister does not feel serious. An unusual conclusion recognizes that a child should have some possessions of his own: "There is only so much sharing a big brother can do", however, it is not enough to correct the weak valuing of Sam.
In this Brambly Hedge episode, an unusual snowfall enables quaintly humanized mice to stage a snow 'ball'.
Quaintly humanized mice in a hedgerow experience a major snow. Tunneling beneath the snow they find it is deep enough to pitch together and carve out a giant chamber for a snow 'Ball'. Imaginative as the scenario is, the fantasy is for fantasy's sake –it's themeless. The author deserves an award for her detailed illustrations, but they are the most interesting part of the book.
Harriet, a hamster, escapes her cage & has interesting adventures (merely as 'things that happen') before being found.
Harriet's travels after escaping from her cage are beautifully described, and portrayed with lovely watercolor illustrations. The little hamster sees the lovely garden, 'taste tests' the vegetable patch, plops into the pond (oops!) and so forth. The chicken coop seemed a good place to rest, so she sets herself amongst fresh eggs, before young fingers discover her. "Harriet" is a Naturalistic story mainly offering a gentle mood, but there is no inspiration through achievement.
With school closed for a Snow Day, Little Critter plays outside until he is cold, after which Mum gives him hot chocolate by the fireplace.
Little Critter spends Snow Day catching snowflakes, making a snowman and a snow fort, and having a snowball fight with his sister. The reader is a spectator, uninvolved in the actions. Oddly, the snowball fight scene shows a snowball striking him in the eye! Perhaps that is a good talking point for parents about the hazards of snowball fights. Six pages of exercises requiring adult assistance add value to the but not the story.
Franklin awaits the birth of his baby sister, and then she arrives. Her arrival is paralleled with the arrival of spring, but there is no conflict, i.e. no plot. All we have is a Naturalist progression of events. The Li'l Critter story The New Baby by Mercer Mayer is much better.
A cat loses his 'life' in several ways, and each time just wakes up again for the next one.
We follow Comet as he lives out his "nine lives". The book is nicely illustrated and entertaining, with no real focus on death. Comet eats foxglove, has a shoe thrown at him (a fatal shoeing), is washed overboard, and falls into a tuba (a bass demise). After each crisis an angel-cat is seen flitting away. The story misdirects children by suggesting survival by resurrection, rather than survival by flexible feline agility,
Mountain echoes convince Bear the moon talks to him, then similar contrivances result in their 'exchanging' birthday gifts.
Bear decides the Moon should have a birthday, and travels to a mountain-top so he can ask what it wants. Asch carefully chooses Bear's wording to the moon, so that mountain echoes appear to offer answers. Similar contrivances give Bear and Moon the same birthday, with both wanting a hat, which they appear to exchange, and then lose. Though well-liked, the story's reliance on artifice takes unfair advantage of a child's credulity.
Baby Duck breaks family safety rules and survives various dangers, all without consequence.
Foolishly mistaking a plastic ducky as an 'adult', Baby Duck follows it outside his safe limits. Escaping several dangers until lost and upset, he flies home on his first try. Asked if he broke the safety rules, he replies, "Oh no, I was with my new friend." This, and that his mama plans to teach him to fly, are supposed to be amusing, but the story is too approving of foolish innocence.
A nice presentation of things a cat might see on the farm at select times through the night, while Amy and her parents are sleeping. Some of the illustrations are quite well done. The sequence is nice to think about, but teaches little and is hardly worth keeping.
In rhyme, readers count very crudely drawn bats as they perform at the annual Bat Jamboree.
".../ 2 bats flapped/ .../ 4 bats tapped" and so on, as bats perform for an animal audience, even building a 55 bat pyramid, cheerleader style. The best part of the book will not be understood by kids: "And the show won't be over / till [sic] the bat lady sings." There are many better ways for a child to learn his first numbers.