With ingenuity and good will, sticks and stones can be turned to better uses than breaking bones—but the tale demands...

DAVE'S ROCK

Cavemen compare rocks, try to top each other, finally invent fun game.

“This Dave. / Dave love rock. / … / Dave’s rock bigger” than Jon’s rock. But “Jon’s rock faster” when thrown. Both pick up new rocks, with unsatisfactory results. Then Jon suggest both carve rocks into same round shape and Dave add hole in middle—make fine game tossing at upright stick! Jon and Dave go off arm in arm. Considering that Preston-Gannon starts the episode off with a quote from Mark Twain (“Name the greatest of all the inventors: accident”), the stilted language (carried over from Dave’s Cave, 2018) seems particularly affected, and the two light-skinned cave guys, with their Flintstones-style animal skins and shaggy manes (Dave’s, for some reason, is green) certainly are. Still, it’s salutary to see an escalating conflict resolved in an amicable, even creative way, and a bit of wordless byplay in which a set of forest creatures invent a wheeled scooter with the discarded game pieces adds a droll finish. The diagrams the animals draw in the dirt make an especially funny counterpoint to the dialogue.

With ingenuity and good will, sticks and stones can be turned to better uses than breaking bones—but the tale demands readers who are patient with cavespeak. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0271-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Preachy but cheerful.

SWIM BARK RUN

Three canine friends encourage one another to complete a dog-oriented triathlon.

Daisy, a little bulldog, enjoys watching her owners compete in triathlons in which they swim, ride bikes, and then run. After one such race, Daisy, eager to be in one herself, decides to create a triathlon for her doggy friends and invites dachshund Rascal, Dalmatian Hobie, and corgi Atticus to participate. Following the human version, the dogs will swim across a pond, skateboard on the sidewalk around the pond, and finally run on the wooded trail through their favorite park to the finish line. When the race’s course becomes increasingly difficult, they cheer one another on to give it their all. Daisy approaches her final big hill and almost gives in to her fatigue, climbing slowly until she is greeted by Brian, one of her owners (depicted as a white man), standing at the top, which gives her confidence to finish. With announcer Rascal’s enthusiastic affirmation—“Swim, bark, run! Did everyone have fun?”—Daisy realizes that the enjoyment of a triathlon is about setting and accomplishing goals at one’s pace. The writing is pedestrian at best, and the illustrations don’t always work with the text (one dog character is introduced visually pages before the text mentions her, for instance). Still, the affable, animation-style cartoons in verdant spring colors brighten the overall message of dogged perseverance with the aid of friendship and teamwork.

Preachy but cheerful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2696-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves.

MAISY'S CASTLE

A relatively sturdy pullout castle with a die-cut drawbridge and a dragon in the cellar serves as playscape for punch-out figures of medieval Maisy and her friends.

The dramatic main event follows a perfunctory scenario in which Maisy welcomes “Sir Charley” the crocodile and others to a bit of archery practice, then dons armor to win a friendly joust “by one point.” Even toddlers-at-arms (with minimal assistance from a yeoparent) can follow the easy instructions to set up the castle and brace it. The card-stock punch-outs include four characters in period dress, two rideable destriers and, oddly, a cannon. These can be stored in an accompanying pocket when not in use—or even dispensed with entirely, as the castle is not only festooned with busy guards and other residents, but there is lots of (literal) monkey business going on. Along with sending Maisy further from her customary domestic settings than usual, this outing features a possibly discomfiting quantity of weaponry—none seen actually in use, but still adding an unusually martial note to a series that generally promotes more peaceful pursuits.

Just a bit of well-armed fun, more suitable formatwise for a gift than classroom or library shelves. (Novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7438-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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