A fun, beautifully illustrated, and heartfelt animal tale.

PUPPY PICKUP DAY

THE LITTLE LABRADOODLE

An adventurous puppy gets lost in this picture book. 

A young labradoodle excitedly wakes on “puppy pickup day,” when he and his fellow canines will be chosen by their forever families. As they play outside, the pup struggles; he can’t catch a ball and falls off the slide. Discouraged, he follows two rabbits under the fence, soon discovering he’s lost. He declares: “I must get back, I cannot stay. Today is puppy pickup day!” The pup asks various animals how to find his cohorts. Eevee the cat directs via riddle: “Through the tall grass…and over the hill, you will find a stream and a bullfrog named Bill.” He is eventually helped by Abra, a large dog friend. The pup is nervous to finally meet his new humans. Will they accept a clumsy, tiny dog? When they arrive, it’s clear that Nana, Grandpa, and their grandkids love him. They name him Brady, and everyone smiles on the drive home. The text has a jaunty rhyme scheme. Cox (Little Labradoodle & Friends Coloring and Activity Book, 2018, etc.) employs repetitious lines, making this a fine choice for emerging readers. Smith’s (Meet the Robinsons, 2007, etc.) exceptional, detailed illustrations enhance the story and depict a diverse human cast. Brightly colored and engaging, the images should appeal to animal-loving youngsters following Brady’s escapades. The pictures also provide subtext, showing, for example, that Aunt Nola Doodle, who supervises the pups, is a dog. 

A fun, beautifully illustrated, and heartfelt animal tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73245-664-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Little Labradoodle Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A story with a tried-and-true plot that needs to freshen up its presentation.

The Lost Little Rabbit

A lost bunny searches for his mother in this debut picture book.

The youngster is already lost in the beginning of Lakhiani’s version of the time-honored tale of a lost child reuniting witha parent. On a foggy day, a young rabbit finds that he doesn’t recognize where he is. He calls for his mother, but instead of her voice in response, he hears the hum of a bumblebee. The nameless little rabbit asks if the bee knows where his home is, but the bee doesn’t and sends him on to the wise owl, who “sees everything.” As the little rabbit runs through the “eerie” fog toward the owl’s tree, he meets a kind squirrel. “I’ve lost my mother….I am lost and scared,” explains the little rabbit. The squirrel leads the rabbit to the wise owl’s tree, which the rabbit climbs to ask the owl, “[C]an you see where I live?” The fog is too thick for the owl to spot little rabbit’s home, so he gives the little rabbit a snack and invites him to rest. Falling asleep, the little rabbit dreams of his mother but is awakened by the hooting, buzzing and chattering of his three new friends. Looking around, he sees his mother, who embraces him: “I will never again let you out of my sight,” she tells him. The digitized art by Adams, some of which is credited to Thinkstock, is in a cartoon style that clearly delineates the characters but includes a few anthropomorphic details—a graduation cap for the owl, spectacles for the squirrel and only four legs for the bee—that add little value. Since the story centers on the little rabbit failing to recognize where he is, the choice to make the right-hand page of every spread identical is potentially confusing; regardless, it’s repetitious. The text fails in the opposite direction: It doesn’t create the typical patterns that can help toddlers follow the story, build anticipation and learn to chime in—steps on the path to reading alone. Erratic rhythms, changing stanza lengths and rhyme schemes, and awkward syntax undercut attempts to enliven the tale with poetry.

A story with a tried-and-true plot that needs to freshen up its presentation.

Pub Date: May 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1491895603

Page Count: 24

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2015

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya

A CHILD'S INTRODUCTION TO CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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