A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle.

PEEPING BEAUTY

When will the last little chick hatch?

In a farmyard story laden with egg-cellent puns, anthropomorphic chickens Mama and Papa and their two big chicks (who are unmentioned in the text, appearing only in the illustrations) wait for their three new eggs to hatch. It’s very “egg-citing.” The first two eggs hatch quickly, but the third won’t budge. The babies each “hatch a plan” involving boisterous barnyard activities, but nothing works, “Maybe we just need to be patient,” suggests Mama, and then the family settles in to read while they wait. The chicks, and even Papa, start to drift off to sleep as Mama reads The Princess and the Peacock, Beauty and the Beak, and then the eponymous Peeping Beauty, but everyone awakens as they hear the chick in the egg start to peep during the last story. Inspired by the “peck on the cheek” the rooster gives to Peeping Beauty in the book, the family circles around the last egg to “give a little extra love.” This does the trick, and not one, but two little chicks hatch from the egg in a surprise ending. Waring’s bright, playful digital illustrations augment the text’s humor, but their addition of the two big chicks seems unnecessary and potentially confusing, since they closely resemble the first chicks to hatch, and with no names among the four of them, readers will be forgiven for not knowing exactly which chick is which.

A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7272-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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