Fans of Duck’s previous outing will revel in this return to gentle anarchy.

DUCK ON A TRACTOR

In this similarly funny sequel to Duck on a Bike (2002), Shannon’s adventurous Duck returns to conquer his next riding challenge—a tractor!

Though Duck’s fellow animals have some doubts, his prior triumph subdues them. “Well, if he can ride a bike, maybe he can drive a tractor, too!” It’s a rough go at first, as, unlike a bike, a tractor requires ignition. But after a quick twiddle with the pedals and sticks, Duck turns on the big red machine, perfecting his tractor-driving skills in no time. The fun begins when he invites everyone to hop aboard. As Goat, Cow, Dog, Pig and Pig, and the rest of the gang clamber, jump, and fly to join Duck on the tractor, the resulting chaos delights and thrills with every manic facial expression and every bleat, yowl, and holler. Things take another turn for the delightful when Duck steers onto the main road and trundles by a diner full of people, including some familiar faces. The ensuing reaction shots from the diner’s patrons range from wacky to comically bewildered, utilizing a tight wide angle to frame each batch of faces. Zany humor once again radiates from both pictures and text: reading out loud is a real delight. Bright, textured colors heighten the madcap antics of each character. The finale wraps things up with a mischievous wink.

Fans of Duck’s previous outing will revel in this return to gentle anarchy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-61941-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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