More kit than story, with some assembly required.

READ REVIEW

PEPPA PIG AND THE PERFECT DAY

From the Peppa Pig series

Two outings and a game of hide-and-seek in between add up to a perfect day for Peppa and friends in this four-spread TV-series spinoff.

First Peppa and her bubble-gum–pink family ride to the park (“Vroom!” says little George) for a healthy picnic packed by Daddy Pig. Then it’s home for playtime with Danny Dog and Suzy Sheep, until Grandpa Pig arrives with a boat big enough for all (“Ship ahoy!”). Children can embellish this stripped-down plotline on the foldout playscape attached to the back cover. All of the figures in the flat, very simple illustrations also come as punch-outs on a loose sheet, and there are corresponding slots in the detachable pop-up car and boat. Fans of the British series, which runs on Nick Jr. in the United States, may experience several moments of pleasure before the card-stock vehicles are crushed.

More kit than story, with some assembly required. (sticker sheet) (Pop-up/picture book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6825-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Overdone, even for a tall tale.

WALRUS IN THE BATHTUB

A family of four’s new house is perfect save for one feature.

It has everything they need: a big yard, a tree with a sea gulls’ nest in it, and an enormous bathtub. But there’s one problem: In that huge bathtub, there’s a walrus. And he doesn’t want to leave. He makes bathtub tidal waves, he floods the house, and he uses all the toothpaste. The family members do their best to convince the walrus to leave, and little readers will get a few good chuckles out of the increasingly absurd tactics. The text is conveyed almost entirely in list form, with occasional snippets of dialogue and arrows pointing to various pictorial elements when necessary. The “WORST things about having a walrus in the bathtub: 1) Dial-a-Clam deliveries 2) Pool parties 3) Walrus songs” leads naturally to “Things that are louder than walrus songs: 1) Nothing”; underscoring this is the walrus’s not-so-tuneful “AAAAHHHROOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!” The illustrations are suitably kinetic, milking the absurdity of a walrus in a bathtub for all it’s worth, and they add a narrative subtext, depicting one child’s evident delight in the presence of the family’s unintended roommate. Unfortunately, compositions are so busy, chock-full of silliness plus additional characters such as the family’s dog and the walrus’s visiting friends, that it may be hard for little readers to focus on that relationship. The family members all have light skin and straight hair that’s either black or brown.

Overdone, even for a tall tale. (Picture book. 3-4)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4101-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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There's not one decent insect leg to stand on here.

THE BUG NEXT DOOR

It's unfortunate that opposites attract in this dismal offering.

Little Speckled Bug meets his neighbor and immediately feels a connection to the female Bug Next Door, even though they express quite different interests. Little Speckled Bug wants to play boisterous games; the buggy diva's suggestions are stereotypically feminine in contrast. “What if we dressed up as flower fairies instead? We could put on long dresses and wear make up.” In an awkward sequence, the pair share hobbies, including collecting the appendages of their fellow insects (!), and a kiss. Little Speckled Bug's cheeks flush as he pines for his new love. The abrupt, didactic conclusion is both pretentious and perplexing: “But you see, in the blanket, just as in the rest of the world, there are lots of differences between girls and boys”—though other references have been made to the "blanket," its relationship to the book’s world is never explained. The mostly felted mixed-media spreads incorporate a hodgepodge of commonly found items, including sequins and postage stamps. Facial expressions are rigid, and the emotions portrayed inauthentic.

There's not one decent insect leg to stand on here. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6356-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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