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Another charmer from the reliable Hayes; newly independent readers won’t need any condiments to gobble it down.

Four more minitales (Patrick: A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories, 2011) take the irrepressible ursine from mealtime to bathtime to bedtime, with a side venture out into the yard to “help” daddy rake leaves.

In the opener, the round-eared, red-nosed tyke initially regards the peas on his plate as “little green balls of MUSHY POISON!” but after negotiations, he ultimately downs them with generous helpings of ketchup and jelly as his revolted (“Yuck!”) but indulgent mother looks on. Misadventures with a weeding fork, a water hose, bath toys and large quantities of bubble bath follow—capped at last with much protestation and foot dragging on the way to bed. Underscoring all this cozy domesticity, the anthropomorphic Patrick and his parents look like teddy bears with a certain amount of koala in their DNA. The stubby figures, pale colors and soft-edged lines on view in Hayes’ sequential scenes hark back to Lillian Hoban’s illustrations for her (then) husband Russell’s classic A Bargain for Frances (1970) and its sequels.

Another charmer from the reliable Hayes; newly independent readers won’t need any condiments to gobble it down. (Graphic easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9351-7934-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Likable dog Emma charms readers again (Letters from a Desperate Dog, 2006) in her anxiety-driven attempts to save her beloved owner, George, from the supposed clutches of new woman-on-the-scene Loretta. At first Emma believes Loretta is trying to kidnap George—she is holding his hand!—and her fears grow as Loretta spends more time at the house. Will they get married? Will Loretta’s dog Hankie hog the space on the couch? Emma scampers off to e-mail Ask Queenie, an advice column for dogs. Preschool children will relish pointing out when Emma has misunderstood a situation and cringe at her efforts, all involving bad behavior, to get rid of Loretta. But then Queenie contacts both dogs upon realizing that Emma and Hankie share concerns about the owners’ romance. After a chase by the dog catcher, appetizing Dumpster diving and one last bath, harmony is achieved. Christelow’s bright, cartoon-like illustrations in comic-book panels humorously display the antics while dialogue bubbles abet easy reading. Pitch perfect for those children adjusting to a new person in their lives. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24205-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Hayes, the Geisel Award–winning creator of the Benny and Penny stories (Benny and Penny in the Big No-No, 2009, etc.) introduces a new character in this collection of short graphic stories. Patrick, a young bear, goes on a picnic with his mother that ends up taking place inside due to rain, learns to deal with a bully and takes—or doesn't take—a nap. The vocabulary is just right, featuring many of the sight words that kids in kindergarten and first grade are expected to know, and the softly colored cartoon format is appealing. The fact that it's a collection makes it even more accessible—ambitious readers can tackle the whole thing at once; those just starting out can read one at a time. However, the content seems a bit young for the intended audience; those ready to read this are long past naptime, and Patrick's best friend still seems to be his mother, making this perhaps a better choice for kids learning to read at an especially young age rather than the early-elementary crowd. For the most part, though, the format, vocabulary and art work well here to encourage kids to read on their own and have fun doing it. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-935179-09-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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