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A tale readers will easily get lost in.

A family trip gets off to an inauspicious start.

Mom, Grandpa, two unruly kids, and the family dog drive to the woods for a picnic and a hike. When they arrive, elder child Smudge, who narrates, runs off to climb a tree, ignoring Mom’s admonition to wait. The smart-alecky Smudge repeatedly responds to Mom’s requests with a defiant “I will NOT!” Good-humored Grandpa shares his outdoors knowledge—“Moss sometimes grows north”—wisdom that goes unheeded but will prove useful later. Smudge tunes out and runs off again as ever-harried Mom, struggling to control the dog, warns the child not to wander off. Does Smudge get lost? Yep—then the little one finally pays attention. Fortunately, the family soon finds Smudge. But now they’re all lost! Smudge is contrite: “Are we all lost because of me?” Grandpa reassures Smudge that it’s OK; everyone’s together. Happily, Grandpa’s earlier guideposts and the landmarks they passed help them correct their course. In the end, they’re able to appreciate a spectacular vista—together. This high-spirited story is notable for its portrayal of loving and very realistic family dynamics. The lively, impressionistic illustrations, created with watercolor ink and colored pencil, capture the family’s relationships and scenic outdoors. The family presents East Asian.

A tale readers will easily get lost in. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780316541176

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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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

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Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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