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SMALL WALT AND MO THE TOW

Three dynamic duos: Gus and Walt; Sue and Mo; Verdick and Rosenthal.

Walt—a small but powerful, friendly-faced snowplow—continues to work with his driver, Gus. How can they help a green car that has gone off the road?

Fans of Small Walt (2017) will not be disappointed. Along with a new, simple-but-satisfying plot, a few new characters, and new, whimsical motor noises, the text includes the winning refrain readers will recall from their earlier encounter with the team: “We’re Gus and Walt. / We plow and we salt. / We clear the snow / so the cars can go!” This time, the pair is clearing a road “slick with ice” when they see a green car slide into a ditch. Walt is eager to scoop up the car, but Gus warns him to wait, as plows are for snow only. As Gus lends a hand to the green car’s driver, Walt hears the “brumm-brumm-humma-hum” of Mo the Tow. Sue—a “lady in blue”—steers Mo toward the green car to tow it. Snow has been falling steadily, and the green car’s owner sits in Gus’ cab to stay warm. Before the story ends, Walt and Gus must rumble into action to help Mo and Sue drive close enough to rescue the car. Special kudos for the gender-stereotype–defying scenes of Sue confidently hitching and driving Mo. Delightful, retro artwork and clever text offer another tribute to teamwork and friendship. Gus is depicted with pale skin and Sue and the green car’s driver with brown.

Three dynamic duos: Gus and Walt; Sue and Mo; Verdick and Rosenthal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6660-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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HEY, DUCK!

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

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. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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