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A manure manifesto for poo-ficionados.

Two little white mice can’t stop wondering what other animals’ (including humans’) fecal matter looks like.

A father mouse is taking his two little mice to the zoo, but only if they promise not to talk about poo. They’re barely out the door (which fronts on a child’s bedroom) when they notice a poster of an astronaut on the wall and, in whispers, wonder what astronaut waste looks like. “Shiny, silver, space-age poo! / Rocket-powered weightless poo, / and it spins round and round / like a planet does too!” Their guess at a pink poodle’s poo? “Tiny, pink, pom-pom poo!” (the same as the lady in the pink, frilly dress walking the poodle). They imagine a gourmet chef would poo on a china plate, and the balloon sculptor’s would be “squeaky, bendy, blow-up poo.” In the same vein, at the zoo, all their scatological supposition is that each animal’s poo is somehow similar to the animal itself (penguin poo is snowman-shaped). Finally, Daddy overhears and shows them what the zoo does with all the poo (fertilize the plants)…so all these supposed differences don’t matter. Bird’s rhyming text is conveyed entirely in dialogue, and the only real surprise is that it takes Daddy so long to overhear his children. Coppo’s paintings have a pleasing matte quality to them, and they rise to the text’s challenge in their various renderings of turds, most of which look like brown soft serve ice cream. (The poo in an actual ice cream cone may be too much for weaker constitutions.) Humans depicted are diverse.

A manure manifesto for poo-ficionados. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6799-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

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 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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