Another hilarious outing with this deliciously naughty dog.

You got schooled!

Pig the Pug is back for another off-kilter adventure, and this time he’s a doggie school dropout. After off-page antics that leave his owner’s home a mess, Pig is shipped off to Big Jean’s Dog Obedience School, where the institution’s “No job too tough” motto finally meets its match. Pig joins a cohort of equally uncouth pups but doesn’t advance further than the first lesson before he organizes a revolt. Mayhem ensues, and Pig ends up looking like his namesake after an accident with a few pink cakes and a tank of flammable gas. Thankfully, though, some lessons were learned and the book ends on a positive note. The story and the illustrations—rendered in acrylic with pens and pencils—are just as zany as readers would expect, and educators and librarians will revel in reading the book aloud. The plot moves at a breakneck pace; as a result, Big Jean, a stern, light-skinned woman with a heap of purple curls, isn’t developed, which is unfortunate as the character radiates interest and seems like a funny foil for the mischievous pug. Instead, the focus stays solely on Pig, whose reaction shots and bug-eyed horror at the thought of behaving will have readers giggling long after the book is finished. One sour spot is a visual joke that implies cultural insensitivity among Pig’s bad dog behaviors; it appears to be a reference to a previous title in the series, but without context it may confuse readers unfamiliar with the series. This issue aside, Pig is a bad pug whom children will want to read about again and again. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another hilarious outing with this deliciously naughty dog. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-85919-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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