Don’t worry, readers, camping season will soon be here...and maybe you can stay longer than one night.

LITTLE HOO GOES CAMPING

A camping trip gives rise to many new worries for Little Hoo, but the little owl’s parents soothe them all.

The owl family is going camping for vacation. Though Little Hoo’s parents are reassuring, the owlet (who clutches a stuffed owl under a wing) meets each new experience with trepidation (some rightfully so: carsickness). While it may be grating to adults reading aloud, the repetitive nature of the text (“What’s wrong?...Don’t worry…”) aids little listeners who are learning story patterns, giving them opportunities to chime in and guess what’s coming next. “What’s wrong, Little Hoo? Are you feeling hungry? / Don’t worry, Little Hoo. It’s time to make a fire and roast some dinner.” Little Hoo’s hooded eyes in this illustration may have readers guessing that his next worry is the dinner menu; a page turn proves them right (though readers may have a hard time distinguishing the hot dog Little Hoo eyes suspiciously, as it is similar in color to the owlet’s torso). Ponnay hits all the camping staples: setting up the tent, fear of the dark (inexplicably, these owls sleep at night and need flashlights), toasted marshmallows (that get Little Hoo sticky), and scary noises. But when it’s finally time to leave the next morning (quick trip!), Little Hoo is reluctant, finally enjoying camping. Simple illustrations keep the focus on Little Hoo’s new experiences, though young children may be confused when characters repeat on spreads, separated by only the gutter.

Don’t worry, readers, camping season will soon be here...and maybe you can stay longer than one night. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5324-1554-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Xist

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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