An exuberant update on the theme of cats in hats.

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 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


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

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 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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