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HUGS FOR PUG

From the I Like To Read series

Cuddle up with this terrific title for the earliest of readers.

Poor Pug wants a hug!

Using just over two dozen distinct words, all but one of which is monosyllabic, Long delivers an accessible, sweet tale for those starting to read independently. Poor Pug needs attention, but Dad, Mom, and Tad (all of whom are depicted with light skin and brown hair in the cartoon-style digital illustrations) are each too busy to indulge him when he approaches them and attempts to “hug,” “snug,” and “wag.” The visual climax of the story arrives as a dejected Pug starts to “yap,” his barking sound repeated in big, orange print all over the page to indicate his frustration. The family surrounds him, responding in unison, “No, Pug! No!” Their words are as big and orange as his “yaps” were on the facing page. Pug retreats to the yard through a doggy door and lies down on the grass, small and alone on the page. The next spread shows the family members, their tasks now completed, wearily collapsing on the couch, now ready for Pug snuggles and hugs. At first, still smarting from rejection, “Pug is not glad.” “But Pug cannot stay mad,” and the book closes with a group hug on the couch, everyone snuggled up together.

Cuddle up with this terrific title for the earliest of readers. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2024

ISBN: 9780823458233

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2024

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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LUCY'S LIGHT

Too many bugs, figuratively.

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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