Books by Bob Kolar

FRANK AND BEAN by Jamie Michalak
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 8, 2019

"Beanie weenies served just right for young campers. (Early reader. 5-8) "
A hilarious tale of hot dog meets bean. Read full book review >
TRUCKER AND TRAIN by Hannah Stark
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 6, 2019

"Grab your CB radios and hold onto your whistle. In this battle of truck vs. train, the true winners are the readers. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A semi experiences a dark night of the soul when he discovers he's second rate. Read full book review >
GIVE ME BACK MY BONES! by Kim Norman
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 16, 2019

"Both macabre and cheery—a rare treat. (Picture book. 6-8)"
In a watery anatomy lesson, a pirate skeleton gathers up and reconnects its scattered bones. Read full book review >
HEY-HO, TO MARS WE'LL GO! by Susan Lendroth
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"An amusing sing-along read-aloud to introduce space exploration and astronautics. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A first-person journey to Mars, to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell," with additional space exploration facts. Read full book review >
101 DINOSAURS by April Jones Prince
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 30, 2018

"Overall, the dinosaur information presented is readily found in other, more-interesting books, and the format is an ill fit. (Board book. 3-5)"
Meet 101 dinosaurs by name, divided by type, in this colorful board book. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FIRE TRUCK by Margery Cuyler
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"A deserving if not divine little book, worthy of its pint-sized enthusiasts. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Clearly The Little Dump Truck (2009) and The Little School Bus (2014) were just the prelude to Cuyler and Kolar's most ambitious project yet. Read full book review >
SLICKETY QUICK by Skila Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2016

"An inviting format to spark shark discussions; however, it's a shame that sources and backmatter were left adrift. (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-8)"
Fourteen sharks, each with a dedicated poem, lurk within these turquoise-watered pages. Read full book review >
THE BOY & THE BOOK by David Michael Slater
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2015

"Presented as a grand adventure, the moment when a child first learns to read is powerfully rendered in this well-made story. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A nearly wordless picture book presents the "I can read" moment. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE SCHOOL BUS by Margery Cuyler
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 24, 2014

"While it's cute and will help to complete vehicle lovers' collections, this package doesn't do much to address school fears or preparedness in the preschool audience it appears to be aimed at. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Rhyming verses stretch out the job of a school bus to 12 spreads. Read full book review >
NOTHING LIKE A PUFFIN by Sue Soltis
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"What makes two things alike and what makes them different—what, indeed, confers individuality and the quality of being uniquely amazing—is exuberantly celebrated in a puffin-affectionate package. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Several essential facts about puffins emerge from this engaging, cheerful and astonishingly simple taxonomic exercise, filled with humor and a dynamic conversational style both visual and textual. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE DUMP TRUCK by Margery Cuyler
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 29, 2009

The titular little dump truck cheerily gives the youngest listeners the lowdown on its duties. Hard Hat Pete drives the sturdy truck through the city streets, hauling rocks and dirt to a building site where a hole is being filled. Then he waits while an excavator scoops debris for him to haul away to the landfill. While the story does not get much more involved than that, Cuyler rounds it out with lots of details: "I'm a little dump truck / turning at the light, / slowing, braking, stopping / at the building site." With its repetitive beginning phrase and close-enough rhyming scheme, those who read this aloud may find themselves singing the verses to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot." Kolar's anthropomorphized vehicles will remind more than a few children of Bob the Builder, but his use of retro colors separates his trucks from their cartoon counterparts. Blocky, computer-generated art minimizes distracting details while highlighting the important identifying clues that will help preschoolers identify objects. Construction trucks for the youngest set. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
BIG KICKS by Bob Kolar
by Bob Kolar, illustrated by Bob Kolar
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

Biggie Bear knows a lot about jazz and stamp collecting, but nothing about soccer. Still, when the town's diminutive Mighty Giants appear on his doorstep, begging him to step in for the incapacitated Brown Dog, he obligingly agrees to give it a go. A huge black presence in each bright, flat, digital suburban spread, Biggie comes across as intimidating enough to the opposing team—but, as Kolar rightly notes, "being big and being good at soccer were not the same." The score remains tied until the last moment, when Biggie spots a rare stamp on the pitch and eagerly bends down just in time to put a winning header into the net. After a failed attempt to carry Biggie off on their shoulders the Mighty Giants follow him back home for a triumphant jazz and peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich celebration. The message that physical differences are not insuperable obstacles to friendship rests lightly on the plot, and will be readily absorbed by young audiences. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
ALPHAOOPS! by Alethea Kontis
ABC BOOKS
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

A hysterical take on what might happen if the letters of the alphabet mixed things up a bit. When A tries to start off the show, Z storms the stage with zebra, tired of always being last. So, the letters decide to try it differently. Z Y X W, all is going well until P jumps in, not wanting to be always in the middle. P O N, but then H staggers out, wanting to keep his same spot in the line-up. At that point, it becomes a free-for-all, and the giggles are sure to start. V takes his turn, but then tries to take another so he can say something else that starts with V. Z does not respond kindly to this nonsense: "Ooh, V is for violence." Without their usual order, the letters have trouble determining if all of them have had a turn, but find U in the nick of time: "U's been in the bathroom since P took over." A ends the show spectacularly and earns an apology from Z for his pushiness. Kolar's illustrations suit the zaniness of the text perfectly. Difficult as it is to imagine, the letters have facial expressions and personalities. A ruled line at the bottom of the spread helps readers keep track of the out-of-order letters. A must for preschool and elementary classrooms. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
RACER DOGS by Bob Kolar
by Bob Kolar, illustrated by Bob Kolar
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2003

Kolar (A Cat and a Dog, not reviewed, etc.) illustrates his busy scenes of canines cruising in cars in a cool palette of blues, grays, and citrus shades, with cartoon-style characters in a retro style and flat perspective similar to that of J.otto Seibold's Mr. Lunch books. This rhyming story features a dog-eat-dog car race that takes place first on a race track and later on country roads and on a maze of highways. Readers follow a group of eight canine contestants through various mishaps as they fight for the prize (a large trophy cup), but the race ends in a huge pileup, and the actual winner is unclear. Sharp-eyed readers who know their traditional children's literature will spot the green turtle and pink rabbit (the tortoise and the hare) who attempt to follow the racecourse on foot, and the tortoise actually wins the race. The story itself is told in sing-song rhyming verses that occasionally sputter or stall, with some uneven rhymes that could have benefited from further tune-up. Kolar works lots of visual humor into his illustrations in background details of race fans and city features, with many different animals observing the race. Checkerboard endpapers show each doggie driver identified by name, including two female drivers, with one named Bingo—the only dog smart enough to read her map. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1999

Where Dave Ross's and Laura Rader's A Book of Friends (p. 537) faltered, Kolar's big, gregarious book succeeds; it's the ideal size for covering the giant topic of friendship. The pages are rife with drawings, while the text is a collage of tips, captions, and declarations. The spreads show a pageant of the things friends do: bike-riding, dancing, sending messages, and playing musical instruments. The downside of friendship shows up, too, for fights break out and sometimes people just need to be alone. Such general concepts are the playground for Kolar's parade of silly pictures. "Check me out!" says a checker board, doffing his hat, while on another page a flower explains, "My friends picked me." The endpapers are alive with stick people, juggling, sweeping, and eating gigantic ice cream cones. A board game breaks up the text by contributing concepts about friendship, e.g., "Stick out your tongue at someone/Lose a turn," while a separate tale within the pages offers children a mini-storytime. The book is so bright and full of drolleries that children may pore over it for hours, and will return to these pages often. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
STOMP, STOMP! by Bob Kolar
by Bob Kolar, illustrated by Bob Kolar
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

In about three dozen words, Kolar chronicles the noisy progress of a small green dinosaur who is stomping his (or her) way through the neighborhood. He merrily stomps out of his home (leaving a disgruntled parent behind), clomps over the hills, trounces, pounces, and whoop-de-dos, shaking the ground, rattling his cohorts, booting all those in his path. ``Thump./Whump!/Look at me!/Stomp, stomp!/Ya-hoo!/Hop./Plop!'' He is a runaway freight train, a loose cannon in a vaguely prehistoric world (a lion and horse make an appearance), until that parent re-materializes to deliver an even greater stomp and bring mayhem to a close. The appeal of this book is directly proportional to the vigor with which it is read aloud. It's not very substantial, otherwise, although the color scheme—lime, aqua, and purple—of the wet-on- wet watercolors seems as willfully crazy as the small hero. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >