ROBIN, WHERE ARE YOU?

Lucy goes birding with her grandfather, learning to use binoculars and identifying many birds before they finally find a robin.

In this unlikely bird-watching trip, the pair see common birds such as mourning doves and Canada geese and surprising birds such as a pileated woodpecker and Eastern screech owl, all before they find a robin’s nest and then the robin. The simple sentences of the text seem designed for early readers, who may also be intrigued by the flip-out additions to the pages. These reveal the birds and supply an interesting fact about each one. Wood's colorful illustrations are primitive in style but capture the birds’ silhouettes and color schemes. Experienced birders would have no trouble identifying the 15 birds introduced, although they might be astonished at the uniformity of the pigeons. Curiously, though mallards are prominently featured among the birds at the pond and also in the fold-out quiz at the end (no answers provided), they are left nameless. Inexcusably, towhee is misspelled as “t w o h e e” twice. Readers in western states should know that a number of these birds are not found west of the Rockies. Better options for encouraging young birders include Carol L. Malnor, Sandy F. Fuller and Louise Schroeder's The Blues Go Birding (2010), Joanne Ryder and Susan Estelle Kwas’ Wild Birds (2003), Jim Arnosky’s Crinkleroot’s 25 Birds Every Child Should Know (1993) or Cathryn and John Sill’s About Birds (1991).

Skip this one. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60905-192-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

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

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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