A bittersweet, vividly rendered animal story.

PIGGY AND PUG

An abandoned dog finds a new family and friendship in this picture book.

Pug is a small canine who lives happily with a human family in a small house. Piggy, a petite speckled pig, lives on a farm, loves to play with the boy who takes care of her, and is sad when he’s at school. One day, Pug’s family suddenly moves, leaving him behind; meanwhile, Piggy tries to make new friends on the farm. However, butterflies and turtles flee from Pug, and the pig has no luck talking with cows and chickens. After a fox chases Pug to the farm, the dog and pig find each other. The farm family realizes that Pug’s former owners left him behind because they couldn’t afford him, so they decide to keep him. This quirky tale of friendship has a happy ending, and readers are sure to take its lessons to heart. The book seems like it might have been intended to have full-page illustrations; instead, it presents four small ones on every two-page spread. Still, debut author Wheaton’s accessible text is surrounded by white space, which will make it accessible for newly independent readers; the easy-to-follow plot will keep them engaged. Debut illustrator Jacob’s brightly colored images feature lovable animal characters and Caucasian humans in a Disney-like style.

A bittersweet, vividly rendered animal story.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9741160-9-9

Page Count: 31

Publisher: Monolith Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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