Next book


From the Helper Hounds series

A positive message of hope and love.

This therapy dog narrates her perspective on grief.

Curly Noodle the goldendoodle knows firsthand about loss, having lost two families already. She now lives on the campus of a local university, happily greeting others on her long walks. Noodle has been officially trained to be a “world-famous Helper Hound.” Her current case concerns a young boy named Gabriel, who won’t cry over his grandfather’s recent death. Gabriel’s family is supportive, and their unnamed but described Catholic faith teaches that “one day [they] will all be together again,” but Gabriel opens up only in Noodle’s comforting presence. He’s helped by other humans sharing stories of loss and a metaphor of Noodle’s left-behind curly hairs as traces of a loved one’s lingering love. Positivity and a surprise reunion supply a happy ending to this somber lesson. Noodle’s narration is compassionate and sincere, like her doggy personality, and appropriate for readers who may be going through similar life events. The text discourages dog breeding: “Rescued is the best breed!” Noodle’s owner says. Backmatter contains “Tips for Grieving” as well as some facts on goldendoodles. Gabriel’s bilingual family hails from Mexico, and illustrations depict the other primary characters as white. Noodle’s current owners are in a same-sex partnership. Companion title Robot Helps Max and Lily Deal With Bullies features a Rottweiler who provides support for a pair of bullied siblings.

A positive message of hope and love. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63440-918-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Chair Press

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Next book


Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Next book


From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Close Quickview