Few words pair with lots of humor for a delightful outing.

BIG AND LITTLE

A STORY OF OPPOSITES

Two canine friends chase a butterfly in an adventurous romp.

Big, a large, shaggy black dog, and Little, an energetic, small white pup, each react to a passing butterfly differently. When Little takes off in a chase, Big follows “Behind” while Little forges “Ahead.” They go “Over” (Big) and “Under” (Little) a fence, aim their noses “Low” and “High,” and are “Timid” or “Bold” and “Loud” or “Quiet.” Deep, richly hued realistic paintings tell a fuller story than that expressed through the total text of 30 paired opposite words. Pilgrim’s detailed, actively drawn animals reflect expressive—and frequently contrasting—emotions, especially through her depictions of the dogs’ eyes. When the dogs enter a wooded area and encounter an ornery bear that is comically disturbed when the butterfly lands on its nose, the chase becomes a quick scamper home, where the two friends settle on the porch for a rest. Little sprawls “Asleep” atop Big, who stays very much “Awake” anticipating the next caper—like that squirrel….Some careful picture perusing and dialogic reading will extend the narrative beyond the original opposite concepts introduced in this almost wordless story. Big and Little’s owner is never depicted, but pictures on the wall suggest that she is a woman of color.

Few words pair with lots of humor for a delightful outing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4021-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

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THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last.

GREEN IS FOR CHRISTMAS

Familiar crayon characters argue over which color is the essential Christmas color.

Green starts by saying that green is for Christmas. After all, green is for holly. But Red objects. Red is for candy canes. Green is for fir trees, Green retorts. But Red is for Santa Claus, who agrees. (Santa is depicted as a white-bearded White man.) Then White joins the fray. After spending the year being invisible, White isn’t giving up the distinction of association with Christmas. Snow, anyone? But then there’s Silver: stars and bells. And Brown: cookies and reindeer! At this point, everyone is confused. But they come together and agree that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of them together. Someone may get the last word, though. In Daywalt and Jeffers’ now-signature style, the crayon-written text is spare and humorous, while the crayon characters engage with each other against a bare white background, vying for attention. Dot-eyed faces and stick legs on each object turn them all into comical, if similar, personalities. But the series’ original cleverness is absent here, leaving readers with a perfunctory recitation of attributes. Fans of the crayon books may delight in another themed installment; those who aren’t already fans will likely find it lacking. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun enough to read once but without enough substance to last. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35338-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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