Next book


A sweet and funny animal story for newly independent readers.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A guinea pig becomes a doctor’s helper in this picture book.

In this tale from the team of Benishek and Cline (What’s at the End of Your Nose?, 2017), a fluffy, brown guinea pig called George lives with the family of a physician with the same first name. Dr. George still makes house calls. Because his patients phone him at home, the guinea pig believes the calls are actually for him and that he’s the real doctor. Dr. George, who is forgetful, always misplaces his medical bag, which his family finds and puts on the floor near the coat tree. The guinea pig crawls in the bag to travel with the physician for his house calls. But when the animal falls out of the bag, he’s not sure what to do. With bandages stuck to his fur, he travels to the nearest house—one of the stops on the doctor’s list—and the guinea pig, through the encouragement of the patient he helps, becomes the physician’s official assistant. Although the animal experiences a moment of fear when he tumbles out of the bag, his peril is never too great, and sensitive young readers should enjoy his slightly smarter-than-a-real-guinea-pig behavior as well as the doctor’s confusion at his sudden appearance. Cline’s illustrations in colored pencil skillfully blend realism with whimsy for the guinea pig—the only character shown—and are so vivid that children will feel they can reach out and pet him. Benishek’s charming, text-dense story offers only a few challenging vocabulary words (for example, “ointments”).

A sweet and funny animal story for newly independent readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5428-1852-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Next book


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Next book


From the Little Blue Truck series

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Close Quickview