A sweet tale of friends helping friends.



From the Noni the Pony series

After Noni the Pony and pals Coco (a cat) and Dave (a dog) meet a young wallaby on the trail, they help him find his family.

Continuing her rhyming series, Lester lets Noni the Pony do what she does best—run free in the Australian hills. Noni is exploring with her two friends when they discover a lost, distressed wallaby joey. Thinking his family group, also called a mob, must be near, the four animals start looking. On their way, they meet several well-known Australian animals such as a koala, a wombat, a platypus, and an emu as well as others perhaps less familiar to American readers, such as an echidna, a possum, a goanna, and a quoll. Unfortunately, “no one has spotted the wallaby mob, / and Joey’s small sniffle becomes a big sob,” so Noni invites Joey to her home. It’s there that they find Joey’s wallaby family, and everyone celebrates their reunion by the light of the moon. This simple tale is a nifty introduction to Australian animals and their homes. As a read-aloud, the dialogue will need a bit of practice to keep the meter. Illustrations are colorful and detailed, with splashes of humor (Noni and Dave have identical orange-and-white coloring, and the cow chorus line is a hoot), but the wallaby family is shown as a father, mother and two children when usually only one wallaby is born at a time.

A sweet tale of friends helping friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4370-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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


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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