Next book

1, 2, 3, PULL!

From the I Like To Read series

A functional early reader, but the engineering aspect of this “girl engineer story” feels lacking.

Min, the resourceful elephant protagonist of Min Makes a Machine (2018) and 3, 2, 1, Go! (2015), is back in this new addition to the I Like To Read series for emergent readers.

Young elephants Ann and Bess are putting on a show in the forest, but they won’t allow Min to be in it. When an overnight storm topples a tree in the clearing where the show is set to take place, only Min knows what to do. With Min directing the other girls, the trio devise a solution to move the heavy tree out of the way so that the show can go on—with a new addition to the cast. This installment includes all the hallmarks of previous I Like To Read titles. The text is very short and uses sentences of just three to nine words. The vocabulary is simple, with repetition of several words and phrases providing opportunities for readers to gain proficiency; however, the exact same words appear on two consecutive spreads, causing a hiccup in the narrative flow. The three elephants, decked out in colorful stripes, polka dots, hats, and hair bows, are charmingly rendered in the illustrations but challenging to differentiate. Unfortunately, missed opportunities to use page turns effectively coupled with the thin plot make the story rather lackluster. Additionally, although the device the girls build is clever, there is no textual explanation of how it works or vocabulary identifying its parts.

A functional early reader, but the engineering aspect of this “girl engineer story” feels lacking. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4509-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

Next book


From the I Can Read! series

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind.

The cool beans again step up to do a timorous fellow legume a fava…this time at the pool.

Will a rash decision to tackle the multistory super-slide lead to another embarrassing watery fail for our shy protagonist? Nope, for up the stairs right behind comes a trio of cool beans, each a different type and color, all clad in nothing but dark shades. They make an offer: “It’s not as scary if you go with friends!” As the knobby nerd explains once the thrilling ride down is done, “They all realized that I just needed some encouragement and support.” Just to make sure that both cool and uncool readers get the message, the narrator lets us know that “there are plenty of kind folks who have my back. They’re always there when I need them.” The beany bonhomie doesn’t end at the bottom of the slide, with all gliding down to the shallow end of the pool (“3 INCHES. NO DIVING”) for a splashy finale. This latest early reader starring characters from John and Oswald’s immensely popular Food Group series will be a hit with fans. Fun accessories, such as a bean who rocks pink cat-eye frames, add some pizzazz to the chromatically and somatotypically varied cast.

Another quirky take on the series theme that it’s cool to be kind. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780063329560

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

Next book


A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Close Quickview