OLIVE & PEKOE IN FOUR SHORT WALKS

Olive and Pekoe are very different dogs, but they are the best of friends.

The friendship between Olive, an old, small dog, and Pekoe, a lively, large puppy, is presented in four vignettes of the walks the two dogs take together. Illustrator Potter’s impressively expressive naïve-style watercolor, ink, and colored-pencil illustrations perfectly nuance author Davis’ witty text. In “Walk One,” Olive and Pekoe explore the woods, where “Pekoe adores playing with sticks” while “Olive prefers resting in the mud and grass.” The friendship theme is humorously underscored when Pekoe brings Olive a “good stick,” which Olive “just looks at…but she appreciates the gesture.” “Walk Two” finds the duo unhappily caught in a thunderstorm—and here, Potter’s illustrations relay atmosphere and dog expression with striking sophistication given their inherent simplicity. “Walk Three” features chipmunks, and “Walk Four,” a canine bully. Each story contrasts, with a light, dryly humorous touch, the behavior of the elder, experienced Olive and the younger, enthusiastic Pekoe; and in each the theme of friendship is presented in a fresh, nonsaccharine way. Davis uses large words to convey the feelings of Olive (“Olive isn’t overly concerned about the chipmunk’s whereabouts”), but it fits the droll tone. The layout is consistent, presenting a full-page illustration opposite a page of text from spread to spread—until the final page, where the words and illustration are presented together; this clever design visually and textually summarizes the story’s theme of friendship’s togetherness.

A delight. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-257310-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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