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Definitely a work in progress—particularly next to the painterly chaos in David Wiesner’s Art & Max (2010) and Karen...

A never-before-published tidbit from the archives of Corduroy’s creator, featuring a goat that gets into an artist’s paint box.

Freeman’s son Ron mentions in a closing note that his father was unable to get this published despite several revised dummies. It’s easy to see why, as both art and story are a long way from finished. The text features indefinite pronoun antecedents, choppy pacing throughout, and wooden dialogue (“Look what you’ve done! You have ruined my painting and squashed all of my precious water colors!”). It is mechanically laid in below and above quick sketches of figures that often look too small for their frames. Spun from a true incident, the plot is unfocused. After Goodwin makes a mess of plein-air painter Miss Phipps’ work, impoverished farmer Mac Duff attempts to monetize the incident by charging admission to see his paint-spattered goat (which only lasts until it trots off to take a bath). It concludes with Mac Duff and the formerly outraged Miss Phipps euphemistically becoming “friends after that for a long time” and then one day presenting the goat with a nanny. “They” (the goats) too become “good friends,” and “they” (both couples?) go on to live “happily and scrappily ever after.” Both humans are white, as is Goodwin; the nanny is black-and-white.

Definitely a work in progress—particularly next to the painterly chaos in David Wiesner’s Art & Max (2010) and Karen Beaumont and David Catrow’s I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! (2005). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944686-57-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Racehorse for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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From the Elephant & Piggie series

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

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. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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