Quatrains with alternating rhyme set a lulling rhythm that evokes the dark, dreamy nighttime world captured in Dronzek’s...

MOONLIGHT

A sleepy rabbit hops to his burrow just before the moon appears to cast its light on trees, mountains and streams.

Quatrains with alternating rhyme set a lulling rhythm that evokes the dark, dreamy nighttime world captured in Dronzek’s murky, chunky acrylic illustrations. Unabashed strokes of yellow moonlight highlight dusky scenes, while solid lines carve out sweetly sleeping animals snug in their homes. Craggy rocks rise distinctly behind mountain goats; a resolute ring of trees circles resting meadow deer; round-eyed raccoons peer innocently out from their hollow tree. Warmth emanates from pages dominated by rather gloomy blues, greens, grays, browns and purples, thanks to the animals’ gentle curvatures and benign expressions. Moonlight coats everything like butter, according to the poem, and some readers might find this repeated analogy slippery. Sleek actions words (slide, skim, skid, skip, sucks, skitter, slip, seeps) and their slithery consonants suggest something slighter, stealthier—something less thick and drippy than butter. When moonlight finally falls inside rabbit’s hole, it coats his pleasingly punchy radish, strawberry and flower dreams with butter. Their cheery brightness elevates this book’s somnolent mood for a final frolic: Rabbit wakes up raring for a moondance under the skies.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-203285-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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