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From the I Like To Read Comics series

A clever take on the trials and tribulations of replacing a busted ride.

A detour on a road trip becomes an exercise in moderating vehicular expectations.

Accompanied by best friend Bird, Pickle, an aptly named anthropomorphic green dog, is going to Clover Farm for some strawberries and cream. The car sputters, shakes, and spews exhaust before stopping, so they push it to Coco’s Garage to try out replacement cars. What follows is a selection process that would make Goldilocks proud: Each of Pickle’s choices is too fast, too large, or too expensive. All three picks get noticed by pedestrians, whether due to Pickle’s speeding, the difficulty of maneuvering a bulky vehicle, or the flashy design of the last vehicle. Each experience leaves Pickle aware of what really matters in a car: “What I want is a simple, little, safe car.” Coco’s able to provide just that through a tune-up of Pickle’s original car. Readers may evaluate the vehicles that they see in the real world in a new light after witnessing Pickle’s decision-making process. A warning from a stern police bird demonstrates one consequence of ignoring the speed limit. Pickle is a conscientious protagonist who apologizes for mistakes and shares the ever-desirable strawberries and cream. The setting is filled with appealingly round shapes and subdued colors, save for a pointy roof or the newly washed finish on one of the cars. The tale offers an excellent lesson in self-awareness, pragmatism, and manners.

A clever take on the trials and tribulations of replacing a busted ride. (Graphic fiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: 9780823456208

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A radiant tale of adventure and friendship.

A boy on land and a girl at sea overcome language barriers to become friends.

A girl wearing a white, wide-brimmed hat steers a boat, worry across her face. “I’m lost.” A boy in a red-orange cap holding a conch shell on a string stares out at the sea. “Soy náufrago.” She sees land and heads toward it. He spots the boat, hoping for a friend rather than a foe. As each child notices the other, their mutual trepidation leads to an unexpected initial encounter. “AAAAAAAH!” “¡AAAAAAA!” Both children, however, soon realize they have nothing to fear. Amid island backdrops brimming with rich blues, greens, and oranges, the girl and the boy take tentative steps toward one another. A problem: She speaks English; he speaks Spanish. To communicate, the girl and the boy explore the island and share a little of their worlds. Eventually, the children voyage off the island in the boat, but a sudden storm splits them up. Will the friends reunite? Restrained and spare but potent text whips up an exceptional tale of kinship, where English and Spanish words often converge in meaning. Montalvo’s watercolor, gouache, and graphite artwork brims with verve, leveraging unusual perspectives, thoughtful frames, and vivid tones that culminate in a sublime gatefold. The girl reads as white, while the boy has light brown skin and is cued Latine.

A radiant tale of adventure and friendship. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781250246721

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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