Give grumpy Gus and his positive puppy pal another sausage and invite them back for a sequel.

THIS IS GUS

A grumpy basset hound is unhappy with his life until a puppy arrives to cheer him up.

Gus has grouch written all over him. His brow is furrowed, his eyes are glowering, and his posture is stiff and unyielding. He “doesn’t like much of anything,” including walks, sticks, balls, and making friends. He doesn’t even enjoy his own birthday party. Midway through this litany of woes, a perky basset pup shows up as one of the birthday presents. The unnamed puppy is revealed as the first-person narrator of the story, changing the negative focus to a positive one. The appealing pup declares that Gus now likes activities such as bathtime and hide-and-seek, though the looks on Gus’ face don’t match that narrative. The surprising climax involves a huge bowl of sausages, with the gradually thawing Gus saving just one sausage for the hopeful young dog. Comical illustrations use bold shapes and bright colors against uncluttered backgrounds, and sausages decorate the endpapers in an amusing touch. The simple story has a droll, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that will be understood by preschoolers and appreciated by older children as well. This funny tale has wide appeal, from younger children just learning to listen to a real story to beginning readers who can decode the easy, repetitive text.

Give grumpy Gus and his positive puppy pal another sausage and invite them back for a sequel. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09736-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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