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Doggie devotees will be clamoring for further adventures.

A corgi sets out to find the right career.

“Maxine had always known she was talented. She just didn’t know what her talent was.” Searching the internet, the perky pooch learns about dogs with jobs and decides to follow suit. First she talks to her best friend, Lady, who works as a lifeguard at the beach. Maxine is sure she could be the fluffiest lifeguard in the world—although she forgets something important: her aversion to swimming. Next, she consults her friend Toby, a guard dog who watches over the chickens on a farm. Maxine is certain she could be the fiercest chicken protector on the planet…but the wolves laugh at her tiny, fluffy body and her less-than-impressive bark. Maxine considers her other working friends—Rosie the sled dog, Dale the racing dog—but knows she wouldn’t be well suited to those jobs, either. Then she realizes that they’re all doing what they love. What does Maxine love? She enjoys playing funny characters and shaking her fluffy butt…could that be a career? Turns out the answer is yes, and Maxine becomes a stand-up comedian! Based on the authors’ actual dog, who has a huge social media following, Maxine’s a winning protagonist who learns a sound lesson: Following your passion is a surefire recipe for success. Batori’s digitally created illustrations of adorable employed cartoon pooches are a perfect comedic match.

Doggie devotees will be clamoring for further adventures. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780593642917

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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