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A lively, innovative story of friendship that encourages readers to think creatively.

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A girl beats boredom via invention and a new pal in Faatz’s picture book.

Lizzy feels restless on a “gray” day. After some unsuccessful indoor activities, she takes her dog outside to play and discovers a box of kittens. Her parents say it “isn’t wise if you get them in litters,” so Lizzy sets up a lemonade stand and finds homes for the kittens. Lizzy, who’s White, notices new neighbors moving in, including a Black girl named Luna. The girls unpack boxes together and play with the contents, including musical instruments and chalk. As they build a spaceship out of the empties, a “runaway” kitten pops out! They turn their spaceship into a fort where they stay cozy alongside Lizzy’s dog and the kitten while it rains. The girls notice the rain smeared their chalk hopscotch grid. Using brushes, chalk dust, “some dots here and a splotch of paint there,” they elaborate the streaks to create gigantic, decorative rainbow designs. They celebrate their artistry with their animal companions. Using rhythmic language (“Drippidy drizzle and plippedy plop”), Faatz adds an artistic spin to a cheerful friendship tale. The story also depicts finding inspiration in unexpected ways. Trimarco’s illustrations use various textures and tones, and the spreads featuring colorful chalk designs are delightful. Some scenes feature subtext, like the kitten hiding behind images.

A lively, innovative story of friendship that encourages readers to think creatively.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73335-482-0

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2021

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From the I Can Read! series

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind.

The cool beans again step up to do a timorous fellow legume a fava…this time at the pool.

Will a rash decision to tackle the multistory super-slide lead to another embarrassing watery fail for our shy protagonist? Nope, for up the stairs right behind comes a trio of cool beans, each a different type and color, all clad in nothing but dark shades. They make an offer: “It’s not as scary if you go with friends!” As the knobby nerd explains once the thrilling ride down is done, “They all realized that I just needed some encouragement and support.” Just to make sure that both cool and uncool readers get the message, the narrator lets us know that “there are plenty of kind folks who have my back. They’re always there when I need them.” The beany bonhomie doesn’t end at the bottom of the slide, with all gliding down to the shallow end of the pool (“3 INCHES. NO DIVING”) for a splashy finale. This latest early reader starring characters from John and Oswald’s immensely popular Food Group series will be a hit with fans. Fun accessories, such as a bean who rocks pink cat-eye frames, add some pizzazz to the chromatically and somatotypically varied cast.

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780063329560

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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