An appealing tale for an expanding family.


A picture-book sequel continues to explore the life of a rambunctious, redheaded protagonist as she prepares to become a big sister.

At the outset, Lizzy discovers that she is growing out of some of her clothes, which her mother informs her will be suitable hand-me-downs for her new sibling. As Lizzy comes to terms with the concept of an addition to the family, she discovers a small, beat-up sapling in her backyard. She decides to tend to this tree (“ ‘We can help little one,’ / Lizzy said with a smile. / ‘Come grow and get strong. / Stay with us for a while’ ”). Then the reader watches Lizzy learn to maintain the tree as the seasons pass; she waters it with a hose and makes sure it is warm in winter. As spring flows into summer, “Lizzy’s wee tree / had grown fuller and stronger.” After it outgrows its pot, Lizzy plants her tree in the yard “with love and great care.” The story implies that nurturing this tree will prepare the heroine for caring for her future sibling. Faatz and Trimarco’s (It’s Just So, 2015) tale is written in Dr. Seuss–esque verse, with the occasional nonrhyming line containing an invented word (for example, “Snowbomidable” and “TREEMONDO-MONGOUS”). The poetry flows evenly and should be entertaining for young readers. Trimarco’s illustrations also have a Seussian touch, at least in the characters’ gravity-defying hairstyles. The pictures are clean, colorful, simple, and engaging; they depict a happy Caucasian family and Lizzy’s beloved white dog with distinctive ears. While there is a plethora of picture books dealing with the issue of becoming an older sibling, this one breaks the mold by using the gentle metaphor of the tiny tree to allow young readers to draw their own connections. Lizzy is a cute and relatable protagonist, someone who wants to be an effective helper and a reliable sister. This delightful volume will likely remain a staple for readers anticipating a new baby.

An appealing tale for an expanding family.

Pub Date: May 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9970851-2-9

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...


The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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