Honors both family diversity and the ways babies explore books.

READ REVIEW

LET'S BE KIND

From the Indestructibles series

Family members practice kindness simply throughout the day.

The latest in the popular Indestructibles series shows members of a family being polite, helping one another, and sharing. Marketed as “books babies can really sink their gums into,” Indestructibles are baby- and toddler-friendly with paperlike, washable pages that hold up to little hands and mouths. Depending on the child’s small-motor development, the pages may be harder to turn than the rigid pages of its cousin format, the board book, but its lightness means it is easier to carry and hold. After asking, “How can we be kind today?” the text suggests sharing, “help[ing] around the house,” and “spend[ing] time together.” The brevity of the text makes it an appropriate length for babies, with enough supporting visuals that caregivers can point out depicted household objects. The family is presented as interracial, and the book cover features two children, one black-presenting and one white-presenting. Trukhan’s illustrations are two-dimensional and geometric, with bold colors. There are nice details, like the family’s pup that readers meet on the first page appearing in a photo on the kitchen fridge later on. While the story itself is ordinary, the real win here is the baby-friendly format that encourages reading and play.

Honors both family diversity and the ways babies explore books. (Board book. 6-18 mos.)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0987-4

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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