Young readers will love the moment when Moe turns from snail to human child.

SLOW MOE

A sweet harangue against the failings of little siblings everywhere.

They are too slow; they are too messy; they take away too much attention from everyone, especially parents. As the protagonist lists little brother Moe’s failings, he appears as a giant snail placidly spooning Cheerios one by one into his mouth and leaving an impressive trail of slime and discarded items in his wake. However, when adults are not around, younger siblings can be fun. It is when the protagonist is alone with Moe that his joyful, exuberant, human-self emerges. Kid Moe runs fast, and his favorite game is tag. He also plays basketball and hopscotch, jumps rope, and climbs the monkey bars. The book is filled with wonderful details: Mom’s raised eyebrows, Dad’s striped socks and no shoes, and the protagonist’s fiercely crossed arms. Slow Moe the snail takes up at least a quarter of the couch, and the stairway carpet drips through the railings (or is that more slime?). Lent Roland, the French edition, publishes simultaneously, and Rachel Martinez’s translation offers some delights absent from the original, such as the title character’s contrast with his 11th-century literary forebear. In either language, the title character reminds readers that we are different people depending upon whom we are with and that familial relationships are complex and simple at the same time. Characters appear to be white.

Young readers will love the moment when Moe turns from snail to human child. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2352-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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