Demure yet mildly impish; when Prudence’s eyes “get hot and tingly” at the end, it’s for the best reason of all. (Picture...

PRUDENCE WANTS A PET

A classic theme feels fresh as a squiggling kitten.

Prudence pines for a pet and adopts anything handy. Will a tree branch do? A twig? A tire? Daly’s matter-of-fact text is amusing but never mocking: “Prudence puts out a bowl of water for Branch. So far Branch has not been thirsty.” But “Branch is an outdoor pet…. Branch tripped Dad…. / Dad broke Branch into little bits and put them on the woodpile.” Other endeavors are equally short-lived. Pet Twig “ran away in the rinse cycle”; Prudence “frees” a pet shoe in the junkyard. (Narration toggles between past and present tense.) When “sea buddies” that “come in a package and are dry like Kool-Aid” fail to come alive, it’s the last emotional straw: “Prudence goes to live in the closet for the rest of the day.” Her crushing disappointment touches her parents, who kindly—despite qualms—take the only final step that could satisfy. With a touch of Quentin Blake flavor, King draws his animated figures in black line, washing selected bits in color. Eyes are sometimes dots, sometimes googly (sometimes one of each!). The book’s shape is a horizontal rectangle; adults are too tall for their faces to show, underscoring its orientation firmly in a child's emotions.

Demure yet mildly impish; when Prudence’s eyes “get hot and tingly” at the end, it’s for the best reason of all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-468-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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