SPLIT! SPLAT!

Gibson’s second outing (Around the World on Eighty Legs, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2011) is an onomatopoetic praise song to rain and mud.

With a gentle spring rain falling outside, a little girl and her dog (and the mouse in their house) head out for an afternoon of messy wet fun, joining a couple of neighbors who are already frolicking. Togged out in rain jackets and boots and carrying umbrellas, the trio soon discards all to fully enjoy the experience. Jumping in puddles quickly turns to squishing mud between bare toes and, finally, to a watery mudslide involving their entire bodies. No doubt readers will relate to the fun depicted in the pictures, but it is Gibson’s language play that makes this such a grand read-aloud: “Splish / sploosh, / squash / squoosh, // oochy sploochy woochy woosh!” Björkman uses a spring palette in watercolors that are filled with splashes, splooshes and lots of splatters and smiles. But his characters look older than they should be for this type of rainy day fun…especially considering the wet and tremendously muddy trail the girl leaves from the front door to the bathtub. Still, the antics of the two dogs and the adorable mouse that mimics the children’s cavorting are sure to keep kids’ attention.

Good sloshy fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-439-58753-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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