Here’s the dirt on this one: Kids will dig it.

ROY DIGS DIRT

Roy the dog seriously digs dirt.

Who can blame him? Sitting, rolling around, and lying in dirt make him happy because dirt is so deliciously…well, dirty, and Roy loves being dirty. Eating, sniffing, watching, and listening to dirt are fantastic. Roy likes burying and unearthing cool, fun stuff in dirt, including some crawly critters and an imaginary friend, likewise named Roy. Surprisingly, there are things Roy doesn’t dig about dirt, though: ants and mud. You see, rain makes mud, or “dirt gravy.” Mud by itself is terrific; unfortunately, mud plus Roy equals very dreaded baths. Roy. Doesn’t. Dig. Baths. What does Roy dig when there’s no dirt around? Rugs, blankets, and newspapers suffice until he enters the jungle that is the backyard. Sadly, encounters with smelly trespassers could occur there, and—yep—baths might ensue! Still, all is well for Roy as he awakens each morning to a day filled with new dirty adventures. This is a rollicking story that will especially resonate with readers who are unapologetically messy. They’ll revel in the delights of wallowing in grunge and may themselves sympathize with a bath-averse protagonist. Shannon’s illustrations are comically energetic, and Roy’s expressions are hilariously wild-eyed, tongue-lolling, and frenzied. Roy’s white coat helps keep the focus on dirty patches.

Here’s the dirt on this one: Kids will dig it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-25101-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

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THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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