A charming adventure and excellent read-aloud tale—delightful.

BEEP! BEEP! SPECIAL DELIVERY

In this picture book, a creative little boy rides his truck, overcoming all obstacles to deliver an important letter.

Boarding his red toy truck with a determined expression, a boy with pale skin and brown curly hair clutches a letter. “Beep! Beep! Hurry! Clear the way! / I have a special job today,” he announces. Through many incidents (a bad traffic jam, a shortcut through the zoo, a broken bridge, a jungle with snakes and an alligator, gloppy mud), the boy and his truck prevail. The vehicle turns into a little red airplane or a boat or sprouts a plow to get through the mud. On every spread, a little brown monkey can be spied who, unknown to the hero, watches him carefully and often helps save the significant letter—a sweet love note to Mom. Ferreri (Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle, 2019, etc.) gives readers a well-balanced mix of inventive escapades with the welcome reassurance of returning home to a warm cuddle. The story is told in rhyming, well-scanning couplets, compressed and powerful, often with effective sound effects: “Ka-splish, ker-splash”; “Glub glub, vroom vroom.” The expressive illustrations by McEachen (Plugged In, 2009) expand the tale with thoughtful details; for example, the monkey gives the boy a 10 for sticking the final landing. In a lovely touch, the boy’s backyard play area includes all the elements from his journey of the imagination, such as a sand mountain, toy alligator, plow truck, and airplane.

A charming adventure and excellent read-aloud tale—delightful.

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946101-96-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Spork

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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