Next book


From the I Can Read! Comics series

Ruzzier leaves no stone (or pebble!) unturned in his search for the perfect friendship tale.

A case of mistaken identity leads to friendship.

Fish—whom readers may recall from Ruzzier’s Fish and Sun (2021) and Fish and Worm (2023)—wants to expand his pebble collection beyond its single-entry catalogue, so he searches the sea. He mistakenly takes home what appears to be the perfect specimen…until it pipes up: “I am a clam!” A back-and-forth dialogue ensues as Clam helps Fish identify several different underwater objects: coral, a fishing hook, a pearl. Fish remains inquisitive even after Clam’s frequent corrections, and he apologizes for assuming Clam was a pebble. Beyond material gains, the real treasure turns out to be the friendship they make along the way. Like many titles in the series, this one includes a page at the beginning that demonstrates the fundamentals of reading comics, including the order in which panels should be read and the differences between various types of word balloons. Each spread consists of a single panel, with thoughtful separation between the left and right sides. Curious, adaptive Fish will endear himself to young readers still learning about all the world’s discoveries and what they are called. Repeat reads will be rewarded as little ones notice the coral, pearl, and hook, all of which Clam later points out. With their round, smiling faces, Fish and Clam make inviting protagonists, and the paper texture lends the artwork a crafty effect.

Ruzzier leaves no stone (or pebble!) unturned in his search for the perfect friendship tale. (Graphic fiction. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9780063290372

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Next book


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

Next book


Too many bugs, figuratively.

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Close Quickview