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From the I Like To Read Comics series

Instructive, fun, and heartwarming.

Filled with avian antics, this comic-style early reader teaches kids to count pairs.

On Ava’s birthday, Mom gives the child a cake, ribbons, and a “very messy bird.” The bird, Ava explains, was originally part of a pair: “That’s two. Now there is only one.” The energetic parrot raises such a ruckus that Ava and Mom decide to take her to the park. Ava, who uses a manual wheelchair, is overwhelmed when the leashed bird vexes a popcorn vendor. Later, they meet a friendly pair: elderly Anne and another parrot, named Sadie. Back at home, Ava mulls a name for the bird. Lilly sounds good. But when Mom tries to teach Lilly to say her own name, the bird repeats, “My name is Mandy”—Mom’s name! Ava’s attempts to explain the concept of pairs are more successful. When Lilly flies off without her leash, Mom and Ava panic. Ava reminds Mom that they, too, are a pair. “I LOVE being paired with you,” Mom says…and suddenly, both realize where Lilly is. Adler’s simple text and Elliott’s bright, expressive cartoon illustrations sweetly demonstrate pairs as both a numerical concept and an emotional bond; a family photo with three figures implies that one parent is gone. Ava’s solution to Lilly’s name conundrum provides a humorous, satisfying conclusion. Ava, Mom, and Anne have tan skin; background characters are racially diverse.

Instructive, fun, and heartwarming. (Graphic early reader. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2024

ISBN: 9780823451548

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2024

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The controlled vocabulary and repetition make this picture book a good segue for fledgling readers.

Young Bob, introduced in Goodnight Bob (2016), is content to play with his pet rock while friend Max is frustrated by his dog’s unresponsive behavior.

Max presents his dog and announces, “Dog will do tricks.” On the opposite page Bob replies, “Rock will do tricks.” Each double-page spread unfolds similarly, with simple, repetitive text that outlines a basic pattern. Max orders his dog to do various tricks while the untrained animal ignores the commands. On the alternate page or following spread, Bob calmly repeats the command for his pet rock and then maneuvers the rock accordingly. “ ‘Roll over,’ said Max. Dog did not roll over.” Instead readers see Dog happily chasing a bee. But…“Rock rolls over,” Bob says, rolling the rock across the grass. The two boys, light-brown–skinned Max and pale-skinned Bob, are similarly drawn, with childlike black-outlined figures, round heads, dots for eyes, circles for noses, and a curly dark squiggle for Max’s hair versus four bristly lines for Bob’s blond buzz cut. Each illustration clearly shows what Dog is doing as the big, white canine ignores Max’s commands. This pairing of text and art completes the readable story beyond the words. The sarcasm in the final line, “Max stepped in dog poo,” feels a little out of step. Readers then cued to look for poo will not find any, and they may be puzzled as to whether Bob is speaking for Rock or Rock is speaking for itself.

The controlled vocabulary and repetition make this picture book a good segue for fledgling readers. (Picture book. 5-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0672-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An appealing and beautifully illustrated educational tale celebrating animals and the great outdoors.

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A child enjoys nature and hopes to see a moose in this counting book.

Oscar and his parents look for a moose on their trail walk. Along the way, they count down from 10 to one, emphasizing things they come across. For example, “six chipmunks scurry by,” and they spy “four branches in the breeze.” After Oscar notices “three hoofprints,” he hopes they indicate that a moose is nearby. But he is disappointed when they still haven’t spotted one. As the family packs up and gets ready to go home, Oscar is elated to see a moose standing by the car. As they try to stay still, the boy’s mother photographs a smiling Oscar atop his father’s shoulders. Hersey’s text features jaunty language (“Creak. Crack. Timber! Slam!”), which will keep readers engaged. The book introduces various elements children might see in nature, such as beavers building a dam. Halsey’s illustrations feature brush strokes, distinctive textures, and light-skinned humans. The greenery, a serene pond, and the realistic animal portrayals are especially nice. Subtext is cleverly incorporated. The numbers mentioned in the story are artfully embedded in the images. For instance, the phrase “seven slimy worms” has an accompanying picture depicting a worm shaped like that numeral. Also included is an illustration showing the exact locations of the numbers. Key words are often in boldface or shaped. For example, the words Squiggle! Squirm! are curved.

An appealing and beautifully illustrated educational tale celebrating animals and the great outdoors.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73230-204-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McSea Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2020

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