Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H.



With email making the art of letter writing almost obsolete and texting turning spelling into truncated babble, this picture book is a clever and refreshing antidote.

Beatrice likes to make letters—not the mail kind, but the kind that form words—correctly. While she knows her alphabet and can write all the letters, her problem is putting them in the right order. Her grandma Nanny Hannah comes to her rescue and shows her a technique. Voilà, the more Beatrice spells (even words that are L-U-L-Us), the more she learns how words are put together. “That’s my spelling Bea,” says Nanny Hannah. Enthusiastic about her newly found skill, Beatrice launches a spelling campaign, correcting all the misspelled signs in town, but when she tries to start a spelling club, none of the kids are interested. That is, until her dictionary sparks an idea. The next day, when it’s her turn for show and tell, she changes the spelling on the blackboard to show and spell! Her report on her pet T-A-R-A-N-T-U-L-A and its T-E-R-R-A-R-I-U-M home is a huge hit, turning the whole class into spelling bugs. Potter’s quirky illustrations have just the right childlike quality to complement the text, cleverly incorporating amusing details. The ending neatly ties up the storyline with Beatrice writing a real letter, the kind that begins with “Dear Somebody.”

Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-39904-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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A dustball of fun for fairly fluent readers.


Chores become fun via an enormous flying dustball and word nerdery.

Bespectacled Davey is sweeping under the couch. When he enlists his dog’s grudging help to dispose of a sizable dustball, a gust of wind takes the two up, up, and away on a grand adventure to Italy, Hawaii, China, and Switzerland. Along with sending the pair to a new location, each chapter also introduces a “big word,” such as “irksome,” “brouhaha,” “lollygagging,” “collywobbles,” and “phenomenon.” As in series opener The Missing Donut (2018), colorful beings called Sprinklers pop in to alert the reader before any “big word” is introduced (“Big word coming. BIG!”). Their leader, the Sprinkle Fairy, adds idiom-filled commentary. The repetitive formula, which smartly deviates in the final chapter to combine all the “big words” into a humorous skit, will indeed introduce readers who have some confidence already to new words. The quirky cartoon illustrations have ample white space, but readers unfamiliar with comics conventions may find the layout hard to follow without panels and speech bubbles. Additionally, the globe-trotting sequences rely on visual stereotypes to convey the locations (for example, the Swiss characters wear lederhosen and dirndls, and the Italians carry plates of spaghetti and meatballs; the depiction of an elderly Chinese man avoids facial stereotypes, however). Davey has brown skin and black hair; the Sprinkle Fairy presents white.

A dustball of fun for fairly fluent readers. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77138-789-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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