A few reworked lines and some brightened colors would likely boost this charming tale from “good” to “great.”

READ REVIEW

Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You, Every Day

A little girl explains to her father why she loves him so very much.

A cute, curly-haired, kindergarten-aged girl opens the story by asking her father if she’s ever told him how much she loves him. She loves him, she explains, because of how he plays, tickles, squeezes, chases, even roughhouses with her. She loves him because whenever she’s afraid at night, she knows she can always find him, and he’ll make her feel better. He takes care of her, picking her up when she falls down and fixing her hair and helping her get dressed in the morning. Her mother sometimes disapproves of the things the little girl and her father do together. She thinks they play too roughly, and when her husband does her daughter’s hair and picks out her clothes, it’s quite the disaster! But the little girl doesn’t care; she loves the way she looks because her father helped her look this way. And at night, when she gets sleepy, he wipes away her sleepy tears and tucks her into bed. The idea behind the story of the little girl and her doting father is charming, although the execution may fall just a bit flat. The verse Cobb (Do Pirates Go To School?, 2010) has penned is appealing and rhymes prettily at times, but elsewhere rhyme and syntax have a tendency to feel somewhat forced. That said, the sentiment is sweet and the text is simple enough to read aloud with the youngest of readers. Van Wagoner’s illustrations are eye-catching, though it’s the little girl’s expression that shines through on every page. The colors are perhaps a bit muted, but the text easily stands out and works well enough with the illustrations.

A few reworked lines and some brightened colors would likely boost this charming tale from “good” to “great.” 

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2007

ISBN: 978-1424339181

Page Count: 32

Publisher: 10 to 2 Children's Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2012

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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