Hector and Hummingbird, by Nicholas John Frith; Arthur A. Levine, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 3-6. (March 2016) 

Nestled somewhere in the wilds of Peru live Hector the bear and his best friend, Hummingbird. Lately, Hummingbird has been more of an albatross than buddy, and his constant chattering finally pushes Hector to the limit. The bear heads deep into the forest in search of peace and quiet, only to realize he and Hummingbird are birds of a feather. British author Nicholas John Frith’s debut picture book is a catchy readaloud, and the bright, bold illustrations done in flamingo pink, turquoise, and astroturf green have a delightfully retro appeal. Fifteen Peruvian animals are hidden in the backgrounds (there’s a guide on the endpages), a fun bonus activity for when the reading is done.

Frith’s innate ability to combine words and text for the picture-book crowd make him an author to keep on your radar. It’s hard to believe that this is his debut. Perfect pace, great art, fun story. I think (and hope) we’ll see more from him in the future. 

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