An exuberant update on the theme of cats in hats.

HATS ARE NOT FOR CATS!

Who should wear hats? Dogs or cats?

A cat wearing a fez is admonished by a dog in a top hat: “Hats are not for cats.” The dog goes on to catalog the types of hats that just don’t work for cats: “Not hats that are festive or hats that are fun. / Not hats for the cold or hats for the sun. / Not hats that are fussy or hats that are frilly. / Not hats that are serious… / or hats that are silly!” Heedless, the cat keeps trying on different hats as it bounces through the pages, but every fashion choice is nixed by the hound. After the exhaustive list—capped by an enormous, spread-dominating eruption of “HATS ARE NOT FOR CATS!”—the gray puss begs to differ…and brings a parade of hat-wearing cats by to prove that hats are for everyone (including turtles, ducks, and canaries). Rayner’s inclusive celebration of chapeaux is a delightful debut. The big, shaggy dog and fluffy puss speak in color-coded dialogue balloons, providing all the text of the tale. The scribbly, smudgy figures appear to be done in watercolor and charcoal and are placed on expansive white space. Although they speak, show emotion, and wear hats, they are not otherwise anthropomorphic, and the sight of these four-legged critters in the various hats amps the silliness.

An exuberant update on the theme of cats in hats. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-96719-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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