While the uneven cadence may pose a challenge for parents reading aloud to a young audience, this animal escapade should...

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Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil

A lost cat, a sloth, and a cellphone combine to create a rhyming adventure in this debut picture book.

Purrball the cat looks forward to moving to Brazil with his best friend and human, Darryl. After a long flight riding at Darryl’s (smelly) feet, Purrball is eager to leave the plane. He and his caretaker ride the terminal shuttle, using Darryl’s mom’s phone to keep busy. But when they arrive at the terminal, the whole world shakes: it’s an earthquake! The terrified Purrball bolts, with the cellphone and charging cable wrapped around his leg. Soon, Purrball has no idea where he is, until he encounters a Brazilian native: a three-toed sloth. This charmingly illustrated fellow, created using primarily basic shapes but with some lovely furry details that add character, insists that Purrball not worry. Purrball, comforted, names his friend Burrball, after the burrs the cat sometimes finds stuck in his fur. When Purrball notices Burrball’s clever claws, the feline comes up with an idea: the sloth can text Darryl to come to the rescue. After a frustratingly timed battery outage and an encounter with tourists more interested in selfies with a lost cat, sloth, and cellphone, the two animals finally reach a cafe where they can plug in and wait for help to arrive. While the rhythm of the rhyming lines sometimes falters and the rhyming words don’t always move the story or scene forward (“I found myself in the middle of nowhere I knew. / I was surrounded by darkness from trees that grew”), the instant friendship between cat and sloth remains utterly enjoyable, and the integration of familiar technology should appeal to young readers used to having parents’ cellphones on hand for any boredom emergency. Zoet’s computer-designed illustrations have a lot of child appeal, with the effective use of color, delightful integration of rain-forest animals, and a wonderfully diverse human cast in the background.

While the uneven cadence may pose a challenge for parents reading aloud to a young audience, this animal escapade should elicit plenty of giggles from confident independent readers in lower elementary school. 

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

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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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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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