From the Égalité series

Fabio is not your ordinary dog.

Young Max, a little white boy, is a bit concerned that his beagle, Fabio, doesn’t behave like other dogs. He won’t play fetch, he doesn’t roll over to have his belly tickled, and he doesn’t bark or even wag his little tail. When Max shouts, “Bow-wow,” Fabio just stares back at him silently, with a puzzled expression. One night, Max gets out of bed to pour himself a glass of water and realizes Fabio is nowhere to be found. It’s like he’s disappeared, by magic! Max tries the same thing the next night, and the next. No Fabio. Max decides to stay awake and hide, so at last he sees Fabio sneak out of the house (readers will notice the dog’s tail wagging madly); Max follows him to a place where cats hang out. Fabio seems to have fun doing cat things, sharpening his claws and climbing up drainpipes and getting tangled up in a ball of yarn. He even “bow-wow-meows.” The next morning, Max fills a dish with milk, all the while quietly bow-wow-meowing. All of a sudden, Fabio’s eyes perk up, and he purrs and rubs himself up against Max’s legs. Fabio is happy at last! Lacasa’s simple story of love and acceptance steers clear of didacticism and is well-served by Gómez’s uncluttered pictures, which delightfully capture a range of animal emotions.

Sweet and effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945415-7-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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