Concise, pedal-powered prose for the earliest of independent readers.

READ REVIEW

I LIKE MY BIKE

From the I Like To Read series

Slow and steady wins the traffic jam—especially when riding in the bike lane.

With a pup, a ball, and a wrapped present in their basket, a bespectacled human cyclist with long black hair exclaims “I like my bike.” The cyclist pedals on, and subsequent page turns introduce readers to humans or animals (and one cactus) who drive (and claim to like) their car, van, bus, or truck. The repetition of “I like my” followed by a noun creates a predictable pattern. Despite the individual preferences for particular modes of transportation, though, none are as joyful as the human cyclist. While the other commuters are stuck in a traffic jam in the background, the cyclist swiftly makes it to their destination. With an impressive economy of language, the story contains only 36 words—eight of which are unique. A deeper story exists in Ferrari’s mixed-media art. Executed with textures characteristic of paint, ink, and pencil, the style changes from page to page. On one page, readers will see a black-outlined cityscape against a broad swath of color; on the next, the environment might appear abstract or collaged. The medium trim size allows for group sharing, making this as much read-aloud as early reader. Readers can spot the cyclist in every double-page spread. Unfortunately, the only human character of color in the book is cast as a bus driver.

Concise, pedal-powered prose for the earliest of independent readers. (Picture book/early reader. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4097-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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To quote one particularly joyous double-page spread, “Oh, what a ride!”

BEAR CAME ALONG

A succession of forest creatures—and even the river itself—learn from one another and validate their relationships with both one another and the wider world.

The simplicity of the text and the stylized, comical creatures belie the depth of the message that comes through for even the youngest of readers: We are all in this together, and our differences strengthen our unity. The river “didn’t know it was a river…until” Bear accidentally begins riding down it on a piece of broken tree trunk. Bear in turn doesn’t realize he is on an adventure until Froggy lands on his back; lonely Froggy doesn’t know how many friends she has until the wary Turtles show up on the ever-more-swiftly-moving log; the Turtles learn how to enjoy the ride when Beaver climbs aboard; and so on through several more characters until they are all at the brink of a waterfall. Outstanding art perfectly complements the text, showing the animals’ differing personalities while also using color, space, and patterns to create appealing scenery. There are several hilarious double-page spreads, including one from the animals’ collective perspective, showing solely the various feet on the tree-trunk–cum-raft at the waterfall’s edge, and one requiring a 90-degree turn, showing the plummeting animals as they reach for one another—some looking worried and others, like Duck and Beaver, obviously enjoying the sudden drop.

To quote one particularly joyous double-page spread, “Oh, what a ride!”  (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-46447-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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