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From the Critter-Cam series

Effectively combines a novel storytelling strategy and limited vocabulary.

A handful of mostly monosyllabic words conveys a cat’s active day.

Webcam on its head, the cat gets up to a variety of activities. Each spread switches from the cat’s antics on the verso to what the camera captures on the recto. Vulnerable in an open fishbowl, a goldfish peers up and expresses surprise, submission, and fear. The cat grabs for the fish only to discover with dismay that water is “WET!” and to try vigorously to dispel the drops (“Shake. Shake. Shake”) while the fish laughs smugly. Luckily, the cat has now spotted a box of cat treats atop a nearby table. The cat shakes the table, causing the box to topple and releasing a rain of fish-shaped kitty treats: “Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! YUM.” Washing, stretching, and yawning naturally follow. Then the cat spots a ball of “yarn? YARN!” Then it’s time for a brief mouse chase. When the rodent hides in a hole in the wall, the cat proceeds to “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.” Waiting isn’t easy, and soon the cat falls asleep: “Kitty-Cam…FADE OUT. Good night, Kitty.” Though some scenes might initially puzzle viewers, Yaccarino’s signature stylized illustrations manage the changes of perspective quite deftly. Spotting the gradually diminishing battery images adds more excitement.

Effectively combines a novel storytelling strategy and limited vocabulary. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 9781665927321

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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