An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship.

Hudson and Tallulah, dog and cat (respectively) neighbors and archenemies, find they can have some companionable moments.

Tallulah happily chases a bluebird in her yard, hears loud barking, climbs atop the property’s dividing fence, and sees Hudson busily digging a hole under the fence. “WHAT are you doing?” she demands. Hudson replies, “I’m busting out. Fences keep me trapped.” Tallulah disagrees: “Fences keep us safe.” But her curiosity wins the day, and she follows him down the block, where Hudson begins to explore an overfilled garbage can he calls a breakfast “feast.” Tallulah counters, “Feast? It’s garbage.” Then she begins to chase a butterfly. At the dog park Hudson is enthusiastically welcomed and Tallulah is uproariously rejected. “Why would anyone want a dog for a friend?” bemoans Tallulah, the white space above her crammed full of all-caps iterations of cat and bark. Charming cartoons convey the nearly wordless story augmented with dialogue between the two rivals. Hudson’s feisty, adventurous, fun-loving attitude parallels Tallulah’s elegant, proper persona, with the two arguing constantly until the opportunity to really enjoy something together presents itself via some play in a large bird-filled puddle. The frenemies soften their squabbling and end up side by side outside their respective yards. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0668-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021


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


Sentimental but effective.

A book aimed at easing separation anxiety and reinforcing bonds.

Twins Liza and Jeremy awaken during a thunderstorm and go to their mother for comfort. She reassures them that they’re safe and says, “You know we’re always together, no matter what,” when they object to returning to bed. She then explains that when she was a child her mother told her about the titular “Invisible String,” encouraging them to envision it as a link between them no matter what. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love,” she tells them, reinforcing this idea as they proceed to imagine various scenarios, fantastic and otherwise, that might cause them to be separated in body. She also affirms that this string can “reach all the way to Uncle Brian in heaven” and that it doesn’t go away if she’s angry with them or when they have conflicts. As they go to bed, reassured, the children, who present white, imagine their friends and diverse people around the world connected with invisible strings, promoting a vision of global unity and empathy. While the writing often feels labored and needlessly repetitive, Lew-Vriethoff’s playful cartoon art enhances and lightens the message-driven text, which was originally published in 2000 with illustrations by Geoff Stevenson.

Sentimental but effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48623-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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