Goofy and fun. Readers will look forward to future outings.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Croc and Ally series

Three short chapters on camaraderie star a duo of polar-opposite reptiles.

Hat-wearing Croc brings the pessimism to Ally’s infectious positivity. The two don’t always get along, but they are excellent at compromising. In “Move Over,” Ally’s refusal to move on the sofa (they like being close to Croc) propels Croc to suggest that the pair trade in the sofa for two chairs. In “Mr. Grumpy Pants,” Ally reverses roles with Croc to show him what his grumpy face actually looks like. Likewise, Croc flips the script to show Ally their happy-go-lucky face (unintentionally turning his own frown upside down). In “The Moon Is Hiding,” the sleepy pals go on a nighttime hunt for the moon (Ally can’t sleep without finding it). Neither sees it, but Croc comes up with a creative solution. In fewer than 100 words, Anderson’s (Ten Pigs, 2015) early-reader debut is classic opposites-attract comedy. Added details, such as the books Ally reads (Grumpy No More and More Fun), reward discerning readers. The text has at most three sentences per page, each with a relatively small word count (at most 13). Anderson scales back his usual textured acrylic style in favor of sleek, black-outlined cartoon critters in mostly earth-tone surroundings. À la Frog and Toad, this duo’s friendship is staggeringly cute (the sole wordless double-page spread is a case in point, showing a confused Croc and blissfully oblivious Ally).

Goofy and fun. Readers will look forward to future outings. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8707-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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