A wonderfully silly story about being true to yourself.

It takes a lot of sass to make “piranhas” and “bananas” rhyme, and Blabey’s book is full of that sass.

Who would guess that a piranha loves fruit? But Brian does. When he tries to tempt other piranhas to try a banana, they turn him down cold. “Well, how about some silverbeet?” Brian asks. “Are you serious, Brian? We eat feet,” they reply. “Or would you rather a bowl of peas?” “Stop it, Brian. We eat knees.” Children will readily guess what the other piranhas reply when Brian asks if they’d like some nice, ripe plums. But Brian keeps trying, ultimately offering the other fish “an awesome fruit platter.” They gobble it up in a typical piranha frenzy, and a hopeful Brian asks, “Is it yucky or yum?” While they admit “It’s very nice,” they enthusiastically proclaim, “But we still prefer bum!” The loose, rhyming back and forth between Brian and the other piranhas make this a fun read-aloud guaranteed to generate giggles and requests to “read it again.” Illustrations, just as sassy as the text, spotlight bright, lantern-jawed avocado-green fish and colorful fruit that pop against a stark white background. And the piranhas’ facial expressions? Priceless. Don’t miss the endpapers for serious and not-so-serious information about piranhas and bananas.

A wonderfully silly story about being true to yourself. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-29713-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019



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


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

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