Here’s hoping Harper will oblige with more stories starring these birds.

THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BUTTON

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Three silly birds with the same wacky sense of the absurd as Elephant and Piggie are likely to be a hit with Mo Willems fans.

Just about 50 words are used repeatedly to make a clever story about nothing. A button (the kind that’s pressed, not the kind that holds up pants) has no apparent purpose, but the birds are excited: “Wowee!” Even though the yellow bird is convinced it does nothing, it’s still excited. The round red bird proudly points out that the button is red. Then the blue bird presses the button and is surprised at how easy it is to do that, refuting the yellow bird’s assertion that the button does nothing: “A surprise is NOT nothing.” The red bird takes a turn pressing the button, but he is not surprised; he is sad. But sadness is not nothing either. Still the yellow bird insists that the button does nothing and cannot make anyone feel anything. Pressing on through a full range of emotions, the birds argue passionately. The logic of the yellow bird’s argument is spot-on for the second- and third-graders who will flock to this easy reader. That Elephant and Piggie introduce the story and return for an epilogue almost guarantees its popularity.

Here’s hoping Harper will oblige with more stories starring these birds. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2646-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

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. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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