MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD

A barnyard parable sure to lighten bad mooods.

This bovine’s having a bad day!

Little Mootilda wakes up with straw in her hair. When her moomaw gives her a frozen treat to cheer her up, it falls on the ground after one lick. “Her moomaw said, ‘That’s terri-bull, / but don’t stay in and mope.’ / She smoothed her cowlick, smooched her cheek, / and said, ‘Go jump some rope!’ ” Mootilda jumps rope with some other calves. That seems to help until she trips and kicks a bucket of milk, sending it flying and tangling everyone in the rope. One of the calves suggests a swim with sheep, but a big, splashy belly-flop leaves Mootilda in her bad mood. Cycling with pigs and playing basketball with horses end just as disastrously. Four chickens tell her about their bad day: A flying bucket destroyed their painting; a big splash drowned their sand castle….They “cow-miserate” and get some ice cream. She doesn’t realize it, but the conversation has helped. Now when another mischance befalls her ice cream, she laughs—her bad mood has gone. After a few more cow puns, she pulls up a couple bales and opens a “cow-nseling” service. Little ones might need a bit of help understanding Mootilda’s revelation, but Ranucci’s bright illustrations of wide-eyed farm critters are engaging and lively, and the details demand repeated readings. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 79% of actual size.)

A barnyard parable sure to lighten bad mooods. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1086-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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