Juno may be a puppy in the Arctic Circle, but children everywhere will relate to her

READ REVIEW

SUN DOG

At the top of the world in the Arctic Circle, a young sled dog, Juno, seeks adventure.

Juno was born as the sun started to shine brightly over the tundra both day and night. The puppy loves her boy and spending their days together kayaking and playing near the shore. However, watching the neighbor’s big sled dogs practice pulling a sled makes Juno want to do the same. And summer can be frustrating. How can Juno be expected to sleep with the sun shining around the clock? Bored, the puppy escapes outside while her boy and his family sleep. She soon discovers that being the only one awake is boring—when it’s not dangerous. Scared by an owl, she races back home only to find her family is in worse danger from a polar bear. Juno barks so loudly she summons help, saving her family—and learning a good lesson. Kerbel weaves facts about the Arctic Circle within a tender story of the devotion between a boy and his dog. Del Rizzo’s vibrant, colorful polymer clay and acrylics capture the beauty of their home. The modeled clay gives Juno, the boy, and environs a sculptural, tactile quality. The boy has beige skin and black hair, there is an inuksuk in one picture, and their town is a tidy one of wood-frame houses.

Juno may be a puppy in the Arctic Circle, but children everywhere will relate to her . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77278-038-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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