In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way.

THERE'S NOTHING TO DO!

Petty and Boldt’s young frog often has plenty to gripe about (I Don’t Want to Be Big, 2016, etc.); this time, he is bored.

It is a whine that no caregiver can ever escape: “There’s nothing to do!” A bespectacled older frog asks, “You can’t think of anything?” Full of childhood angst—sprawled out on the floor in despair—the small frog answers, “I can think of lots of things… / buuuuut I don’t want to do any of them.” After naysaying all possibilities, even the ever popular “then clean your room,” the frog decides to ask some friends for advice. Rabbit really likes to hop in circles and then stare into space. Cat suggests licking in between toes, and Owl thinks sleeping is the best idea. Pig helpfully unfurls a list of “Pig’s Fantastic List of Things to Do When He Doesn’t Know What to Do.” Unfortunately, nothing on the list is very fantastic. Boldt’s putty-mouthed frog is the picture of boredom and dejection, finally brightening at the yogic realization that sometimes doing nothing, just being in the moment, is better than anything. This is a lesson well-learned, except when school is the next day and the young frog happily wants to do…nothing (oops).

In a structured, overstimulated world, downtime needs to be appreciated, and this small amphibian shows the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55803-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more