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This story provides a charming, warm introduction to Paris for kids, ending on a happy note.

In this debut illustrated children’s book for ages 3 to 5, a French octopus gets lonely and leaves his native fountain to explore Paris and beyond.

Monsieur Pierre Poulpe, a beret-wearing orange octopus with a dapper mustache, has been living in a Paris fountain, along with two fish, the Mademoiselles Poussins, ever since he was a baby. The fish sisters are snooty, though, and talk only to each other, so one day lonesome Pierre decides to follow a diverse group of tourists around Paris. Through coffee and croissants, a boat tour, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Montmarte, Pierre looks around and tries to be friendly, but everyone ignores him. The Notre Dame gargoyles frighten him, and Pierre embarrasses himself with a faux pas. Even the Poussin sisters, who tag along, give him the cold shoulder. Feeling down, Pierre returns to his home fountain, but then two American children come by arguing about what to bring home for souvenirs. “Take me!” shouts Pierre, and they do, kindly holding “some of Pierre’s arms” (great phrase) on the plane so he won’t be scared. Pierre enjoys such California staples as a swimming pool, breakfast smoothie, yoga class, and Bay Area tourist spots, liking it all so much that he settles down in California—though he sometimes has “surprise visitors from Paris,” like a museum guard toting the Mona Lisa and the now-friendly Poussins. In her book, Dana delivers a delightful, colorfully illustrated tale. The human figures are drawn somewhat clumsily, but they’re expressive, and Pierre is full of Gallic charm. As children follow Pierre on his adventures, they can learn something about Paris and its sights; they can also enjoy looking for and finding the Mademoiselles Poussins on all the France-set pages. They can learn a little, too, about the San Francisco area. Children will likely sympathize with Pierre’s loneliness, embarrassment, and fears, which make his new happiness and friendships in California all the sweeter; even the scary gargoyles come to visit along with the formerly snobbish Poussins.

This story provides a charming, warm introduction to Paris for kids, ending on a happy note.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2017


Page Count: -

Publisher: L O Annie Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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