Silly and slight—but the dog’s ability to ask the right questions is admirable.

READ REVIEW

ARE YOU A CAT?

A dog questions another animal’s assertion that it is not a cat.

“Why do you want to know if I’m a cat?” asks the black, feline-looking creature. “I’m a dog and dogs chase cats,” replies the self-identified dog, plump and orange-brown with black ears. The dog’s words appear throughout in a white font against the slate blue background of the pages, the enigmatic animal’s words in black. It denies being a cat and then claims, in succession, to be a bird, a squirrel, a butterfly, and a rabbit. The dog challenges the not-a-cat to do the things those animals do: fly, crack open a nut, land gently on a flower, hop down a hole. The back and forth of the dialogue becomes pleasantly predictable, with the contrary creature repeatedly responding to the dog’s knowledge about what other animals do with a bland “I knew that.” When a mouse appears, the dog shrewdly asks whether its interlocutor wants to chase it. The creature admits to wanting to chase the mouse and, yes, “I am a cat.” Muir’s simple, slightly abstract cartoon art gives both animals each broad personality along with an identifiable and amusing cast of minor characters. The butterfly and the rabbit, especially, look fairly alarmed as the cat tries to prove adept at uncatlike skills.

Silly and slight—but the dog’s ability to ask the right questions is admirable. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286594-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Though slight, this story has compensatory interactive components and characters that are time-tested kid-pleasers.

SHARK BITE!

Poor Mark the shark can’t make any friends because all the other fish are frightened of his teeth.

When a crab pinches Mark’s tail, Mark gets angry and yells for all the fish to come out: “If you won’t be my friends, then you’ll be my dinner!” At this, a concerned octopus reaches out to Mark, accidentally tickling him and making him laugh. When the other fish hear the shark laugh, they realize he’s not actually scary after all, and suddenly, Mark has lots of fishy friends. Each double-page spread has a slider, allowing readers to move the shark’s teeth up and down by pulling a tab, making him cry, chomp, and laugh. Companion volume Dino Chomp, also featuring big biting teeth operated by sliders, tells the story of a T. Rex tricked out of his dinner. Both titles suffer from flimsy plots and generic art, depending on the interactivity of the moving mouths to draw kids in. Considering how satisfying it is to make those teeth go chomp, chomp, chomp, though, it may be enough.

Though slight, this story has compensatory interactive components and characters that are time-tested kid-pleasers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0107-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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