This story’s got a moral that’s actually true to life.



Three pigs find themselves trying but not always succeeding in this story of perseverance.

They fall out of boats, spin out of control, and often fall down, but in the end, these “pigs in a pickle know what to do. / They try again—they carry through!” In a tale that combines aspects of “This Little Piggy” and “Humpty Dumpty,” Wilhelm’s rhyming text echoes the childhood classics. Impressively, the story conveys its message about perseverance without ending sappily with a success story. In Wilhelm’s take, when you give it your “best shot,” realistically, “sometimes it works… / …and sometimes it does not.” The piggy who falls off the merry-go-round gets back up and tries again—and again he falls off. What a lesson for little readers! Salcedo’s three pigs each have their own distinctive look: one with large glasses, the second with pigtails, and the third with a round tummy. Each illustration is filled with a lot of movement thanks to well-placed lines, swirls, and squiggles, a necessary inclusion given the copious stumbling, twirling, and falling. There is also a lovely level of detail, from the suits on the playing cards to the tiny hose and ladder on the toy fire truck, though this visual complexity gears this book to the older segment of the board-book audience.

This story’s got a moral that’s actually true to life. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7896-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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While the puzzle gimmick may hold youngsters' interest for a few readings, it is unlikely to have a long shelf life.



Another overdesigned board book, with puzzle pieces this time, from PANTONE, the company that creates the widely used color matching system.

Each double-page spread focuses on one color of the rainbow. The left-hand side is a full-page, graphically minded scene using a variety of hues of the color in question. On the facing pages, the PANTONE chips make their appearance, four shades occupying the four quadrants of the page separated by a bold white line in typical PANTONE fashion. Both sides of each page spread carry four shaped indentations to hold abstract puzzle shapes made of paperboard. Featuring machines that go on the left, the red spread has pieces that become the door and siren on a fire truck. These same pieces fit into slots labeled “Stop Sign Red / PANTONE 485” and “Brick Red / PANTONE 7627” on the right. While the cartoon tableaux are droll, the use of PANTONE numbers will make little sense to youngsters. The puzzle pieces themselves are relatively easy to get in and out once loosened, but, after a few readings, they will likely flake at the edges if they are not lost altogether. The small pieces force this message on the back cover: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.”

While the puzzle gimmick may hold youngsters' interest for a few readings, it is unlikely to have a long shelf life. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0939-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Overdone, even for a tall tale.


A family of four’s new house is perfect save for one feature.

It has everything they need: a big yard, a tree with a sea gulls’ nest in it, and an enormous bathtub. But there’s one problem: In that huge bathtub, there’s a walrus. And he doesn’t want to leave. He makes bathtub tidal waves, he floods the house, and he uses all the toothpaste. The family members do their best to convince the walrus to leave, and little readers will get a few good chuckles out of the increasingly absurd tactics. The text is conveyed almost entirely in list form, with occasional snippets of dialogue and arrows pointing to various pictorial elements when necessary. The “WORST things about having a walrus in the bathtub: 1) Dial-a-Clam deliveries 2) Pool parties 3) Walrus songs” leads naturally to “Things that are louder than walrus songs: 1) Nothing”; underscoring this is the walrus’s not-so-tuneful “AAAAHHHROOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!” The illustrations are suitably kinetic, milking the absurdity of a walrus in a bathtub for all it’s worth, and they add a narrative subtext, depicting one child’s evident delight in the presence of the family’s unintended roommate. Unfortunately, compositions are so busy, chock-full of silliness plus additional characters such as the family’s dog and the walrus’s visiting friends, that it may be hard for little readers to focus on that relationship. The family members all have light skin and straight hair that’s either black or brown.

Overdone, even for a tall tale. (Picture book. 3-4)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4101-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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