Beginning readers will be able to read this refreshing tale alone; younger kids will tell it from the pictures.

WALK YOUR DOG

A child and a dog go through their day together.

With nary an adult in sight, the 4- or 5-year-old unnamed child with messy brown pigtails takes charge, brushing the dog in a messy bathroom, feeding the dog at a little table where it wreaks havoc, dressing the canine in all sorts of outfits, and finally taking it outdoors, where the duo meets a small gold-and-brown cat. The dog gets away from its owner and merrily chases the cat through the park, until the child falls in the mud and finally catches the leash again, just in time for ice cream. With just three words in each spread and only the verb varying (“Train your dog. / Treat your dog”), the watercolor-and–colored-pencil art provides delightful details, sometimes using animation strategies to advance the action, as in the “Train your dog” spread, in which the child first glares at the dog, the dog then licks the child, the child instructs the dog, and finally, in a full-page illustration, the dog sits and wags its tail, drawn as three tails with arcing motion lines crossing them. The suburban setting is shown in soft, light pastel hues, while the big, brown dog is given texture with pencil. The minimal text works well with the maximal visual storytelling.

Beginning readers will be able to read this refreshing tale alone; younger kids will tell it from the pictures. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-54652-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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