The exclamation begs for read-alouds and invites children from Oklahoma or Alabama to try out their best New York accents...

STOP FEEDIN' DA BOIDS!

New to city living, Swanda (olive-skinned and espresso-haired) installs a feeding station on her fire escape, unaware of the teeming, cooing hordes that will instantly (and incessantly) descend from the skies, leaving their marks on the neighbors and sidewalks below.

Readers come face to beak with Swanda’s predicament in a startling double-page spread: a sea of birds, feathers, and yellow marble eyes. The freaky flock advances, unblinking, right off the page, bobbing dumbly in that mildly unnerving, pugilistic pigeon-y fashion. Vibrant pastels describe both multitudes of pigeon grays and also the vibrancy of city life, saturated with colors, cultures, accents, and activities. Expansive full-bleed spreads capture both urban density and verticality. Buildings, brickwork, and wry sidewalk vignettes fill both pages and readers’ imaginations. Swanda’s neighbors, with their beards, hair rollers, smiles, admonitions, dogs, pearls, cat’s-eye glasses, and bowler, Rastafarian, and Hasidic hats, are what people might call real New Yorkers, who together represent an articulate, authentic vision of an interconnected city. Their resounding, choral shout up to her apartment window comes booming in the delightful local dialect: “SWANDA, YOU GOTTA STOP FEEDIN’ DA BOIDS!”

The exclamation begs for read-alouds and invites children from Oklahoma or Alabama to try out their best New York accents and for a minute feel part of the big city. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-613-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Well-nigh Wondrous.

IT FELL FROM THE SKY

When a strange orb falls into their habitat, the Spider commandeers it, constructing “WonderVille” and selling tickets to long lines of curious insects.

The object (readers will recognize it as a yellow-green marble) invites considerable speculation. Is it a gumdrop, a comet, a chrysalis? The Spider, nixing the chatter, asserts that “whatever it is, it most certainly belongs to me,” insisting that the sphere has fallen into his web. He constructs a “Grand Exhibit” to showcase “the Wonder from the Sky.” As lines of visitors lengthen, admission increases from one leaf to two—then more—until visitors cease. The Spider presumes they’ve gone to invite prospective customers. That self-aggrandizing assumption is rendered moot by “the Unexpected Disaster. / A five-legged creature stole the Wonder and took it back to the sky.” (This deus ex machina is a child’s hand.) Time passes, WonderVille reverts to its previous state, and insects return. The Spider, ignored, experiences a nighttime epiphany as stars shine down. “They didn’t hide their light from anyone. Not even a selfish Spider.” Patiently, he spins webs, and “sure enough, more Wonders fell from the sky.” In graphite-gray spreads rife with delicate flora, colorful new “Wonders” (a thimble, pushpin, Lego, and more) captivate the neighborhood—free of charge. The Fans’ marvelous illustrations sparkle with nuance, from lofting dandelion seeds to the Spider’s dew-dropped web. The pro-community message is slightly undermined by the choice to portray a gendered, top-hatted, preponderantly male cast. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Well-nigh Wondrous. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5762-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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