A gentle lesson that positive alternatives to hurtling mindlessly through life do exist—even at the Zoom.

READ REVIEW

SLOTH AT THE ZOOM

A quintessentially laid-back sloth is mistakenly delivered to the Zoom instead of her expected destination, the Zzzzzoo.

It was a wrong turn (as the endpapers show). At the Zoom, “The monkeys climbed so fast they forgot to stop at the treetops. / And the parrots flew so fast their tails drew rainbows across the sky.” Over an appropriately attenuated period of weeks, the sloth tries to befriend a cheetah, those monkeys, and a zeal of zebras—but all rush off with only the briefest of exchanges. Just as the sloth resigns herself to loneliness—“No one here has any time”—she meets a snail. Evidencing their perfectly matched modi vivendi, it takes four funny panels for the sloth to mosey down to the snail’s philodendron—the same amount of time for the snail to travel the length of a leaf. “And as the setting sun adorned the sky,” they share a snack and a cool drink. Predictably, their contentment attracts the attention of the other animals, who “[slow] down… / …just long enough, that is, to become fast friends.” Perfectly pitched for preschoolers who are just beginning to understand jokes, Becker’s turns of phrase are well-cadenced for read-alouds. Notably, the sloth never loses her cool over the other animals’ ways. Orbie’s appealing illustrations evoke those of Bill Peet.

A gentle lesson that positive alternatives to hurtling mindlessly through life do exist—even at the Zoom. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-249-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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