An uncomplicated tale of consideration and cooperation rendered in an accessible format.

DON'T EAT THAT

How do you teach a grown bear new tricks?

An intrepid young bird-watcher in pursuit of a Scouting merit badge decides to help a bear find a snack in this whimsical tale. “DON’T EAT THAT!!!” Gertie explodes when she sees it about to chomp on a rock. Thanks to frontmatter illustrations, readers know what she does not: The bear has been dropped off by the city zoo and so doesn’t know how to function in the woods. Comic-strip panels alternate with full- or double-page spreads, with the text largely confined to dialogue bubbles, while cartoony Photoshop illustrations carry most of the story. Basic efforts at communication between the two prove problematic, and the bear’s lack of woods savvy (it tries to eat a skunk) and skills (it can’t swim) don’t help either. Puns abound as multiple efforts by the protagonist fail to come to fruition. The two end up far from happy, and Gertie starts to realize that her help may not be so helpful after all. Surely they can work together so that it can learn to fill its tummy! While there is little wholly original here, the messages of friendship and teamwork are portrayed nicely, the minimal text will appeal to reluctant readers, and youngsters will come away with a chuckle. Gertie has blonde hair and pale skin.

An uncomplicated tale of consideration and cooperation rendered in an accessible format. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99729-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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

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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

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