An amusingly silly and gross animal tale with a warm heart.

THE HAIRY ADVENTURES OF HARRY THE BEAR AND HIS DISGUSTING SIDEKICK STANKY THE DOG

From the Harry the Bear series

A bear helps out a friend who has lost some fur in this picture book.

Harry the Bear is well named. Not only is he very hairy, the fur is so long and messy that he frightens his sisters, cats, and the bats outside. Harry doesn’t care; he loves his hair and his attempts to find different ways of styling it. When his best friend, Jeremy, a fellow bear, survives a house fire and winds up with patchy fur and a missing eyebrow, kids tease him about it. Despite loving his fur, Harry doesn’t hesitate to help, cutting off half and gluing it onto a jacket for his friend. Jeremy is moved by the gift—“as long as the hair didn’t come from your butt!” Told in rhyme, Hopper’s story offers an appealing blend of gross-out humor and compassion. Besides being scary, Harry’s hair is comical, as when he uses honey (appropriately) to style a rocking Mohawk. The cartoonish images by debut illustrator Leischer can be rather flat. But they do capture the book’s humor, especially in depicting the titular Stanky, who is as disgusting as advertised—eating garbage and drinking from the toilet.

An amusingly silly and gross animal tale with a warm heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-65210-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2020

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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