Exploring selfish behavior makes understanding the “why” of sharing easier.

HOW SELFISH!

From the Dot and Duck series

Fowl and friend fight over toys.

Duo Dot and Duck explored manners in How Rude! (2018). Now they are back, learning another tough childhood lesson. Duck finds a stick, but Dot greedily snatches it away. Duck thinks it should be a flag. Dot thinks it is a sword. The two squabble back and forth, grabbing and yelling. “Flag!” “Sword!” Duck tries to negotiate: “Swap the flag for a rabbit?” But Dot is having none of it: “That’s MY toy!” When Duck suggests sharing, Dot ceremoniously offers a tiny leaf while keeping everything else (including the stick). The pair can’t figure out how to agree until Duck utters the most powerful phrase in all of childhood: “I’m telling on you….” Dot quickly acquiesces, and suddenly Duck is the one with all of the toys. Dot is fuming. How selfish! The staccato shouts that dominate the dialogue-only text and the uncluttered, white backdrop emphasize this grumpy feud. Each page turn shows how quickly an argument can escalate. Luckily, the duo realize they miss each other’s company and are able to find a compromise. The argument itself offers hints as a model for social-emotional conflict resolution, but this book is more likely to be used to spark a deeper discussion rather than to provide solo guidance. Duck is a yellow-feathered duck; Dot is a pink-skinned human.

Exploring selfish behavior makes understanding the “why” of sharing easier. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-71124-447-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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