Friendship on the ice: fraught with danger but funny and fulfilling in the end.

READ REVIEW

WADDLE! WADDLE!

It’s a face-off on the ice for a trio of performing penguins and a large, hungry, white seal.

A penguin sporting a jauntily angled red hat and bright green bow tie is in search of his “new best friend” who is a “spectacular dancer!” The first penguin he encounters sings, and the second one toots a horn. Searching on, he comes face to face with a toothy seal, who has visions of a tasty roast. In utter despair, and also facing his imminent demise, the penguin finds able-bodied assistance from his singing and tooting fellows. Their performances are more noise irritant than music-hall fodder, but the seal finds it necessary to cover his ears, and the soon-to-be dinner penguin escapes into the welcome company of two new buddies. Oh, and he also finds the dancing friend—a visual twist that will set readers giggling. Proimos’ animals, outlined in solid black, have bright yellow googly eyes, big orange beaks, and tower over the pages with their brash and bold attitudes. This humorous adventure zooms along in snappy dialogue that is barely contained in large, colorful speech bubbles. A delightful refrain of “Waddle. Waddle. Belly Slide!” will have children chanting or, more likely, shouting along.

Friendship on the ice: fraught with danger but funny and fulfilling in the end. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-41846-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

LITTLE RED SLEIGH

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more