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HELLO, MONSTER!

Admirably imaginative.

What if that new kid in the park is not a boy at all? What if….

Even though Mom always tells the young narrator not to talk to strangers, when they go to the park together, she encourages her child to say hello to various random people. “That lady over there…with only pigeons to talk to” looks very friendly. And that little boy with the pail and shovel seems “perfectly safe.” Her child is not so sure. What if the boy is a “MONSTER in disguise?” Maybe there’s a secret cave under the sand where this boy/monster has lured many children. The captured children tend the monster’s “pet moles, and clean his floor, and comb his fur, and cook his horrible, slimy dinner.” An escape plan forms: The children dig a tunnel to safety. But what if they emerge in a panther’s cage? Maybe the panther won’t like the taste of humans, and they can help her escape, as well. When they get back home, their parents will be so happy to see them they’ll let them stay home from school and never make them talk to strangers again. Beauvais’ twisty tale, translated from French and substantial for a picture book, is well-matched by Shearring’s busy and colorful illustrations. The narrator is depicted as white, and the monster’s other hypothetical victims are a diverse bunch. Children will love the details of the monster’s underground lair.

Admirably imaginative. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65170-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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THE COOL BEAN MAKES A SPLASH

From the I Can Read! series

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind.

The cool beans again step up to do a timorous fellow legume a fava…this time at the pool.

Will a rash decision to tackle the multistory super-slide lead to another embarrassing watery fail for our shy protagonist? Nope, for up the stairs right behind comes a trio of cool beans, each a different type and color, all clad in nothing but dark shades. They make an offer: “It’s not as scary if you go with friends!” As the knobby nerd explains once the thrilling ride down is done, “They all realized that I just needed some encouragement and support.” Just to make sure that both cool and uncool readers get the message, the narrator lets us know that “there are plenty of kind folks who have my back. They’re always there when I need them.” The beany bonhomie doesn’t end at the bottom of the slide, with all gliding down to the shallow end of the pool (“3 INCHES. NO DIVING”) for a splashy finale. This latest early reader starring characters from John and Oswald’s immensely popular Food Group series will be a hit with fans. Fun accessories, such as a bean who rocks pink cat-eye frames, add some pizzazz to the chromatically and somatotypically varied cast.

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780063329560

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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