Gives “friend” a disquieting nuance.

READ REVIEW

I JUST ATE MY FRIEND

On the spur of the moment, anyone can make a mistake.

In a twist on Eric Carle’s classic Do You Want to Be My Friend? (1971) and the many like-themed quests trailing in its wake, a suddenly friendless yellow monster makes the titular confession, mourns, and then goes in search of a new companion. Following a string of refusals that range from “No, you are too big,” and “No, you are too scary” (not to mention a terse “No”) to a terrifying, page filling “Rrrooar!” the monster begins to lose heart. Will it be lonely forever? But, no fears, a suitable (teal) candidate sidles up at last: “Hello! I will be your friend.” Cue the warm smiles and clasped paws…until a page turn reveals only the new arrival, guiltily admitting, “I just ate my friend.” Arranged in simple compositions and positioned for maximum comic effect, McKinnon’s monsters don’t look at all feral (although the protagonist does have a mouthful of sharp teeth, they are very tiny, commanding much less attention than its large, googly eyes and potato-shaped body), so the summary fate of the yellow one may come as a surprise (at least the first time through) to audiences who expect a more-conventional ending. Readers who prefer their comedy on the dark side à la Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back (2011) or Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross’ Tadpole’s Promise (2005) will relish this alternative outcome.

Gives “friend” a disquieting nuance. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1032-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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