A crunchy debut with an unnerving surprise at the bottom of the bowl.



A messy eater finds a perfect companion…or maybe not.

In what plays as a buoyant tale of togetherness that takes a decidedly dark turn toward the end, a child searches for an animal companion who can clean up the astonishing messes she makes as she continually chows down on breakfast cereal. Unfortunately, the dog and the goat can’t keep up; the cat and the pony have agendas of their own; and as for the elephant: “so close!...but too big” (to fit in the house, that is). But then she meets a pig, a pig with a seemingly boundless appetite not just for spilled cereal, but for the boxes too. In no time the two become inseparable, and the young gourmand has delightedly decided that “this pig was perfecto.” Serafino tells the tale in a few big, pithy phrases and single words accompanying cartoon views of his light-skinned, brown-haired child eagerly digging in, exuberantly spraying the vicinity with pops and crunchies of diverse hue, natural and otherwise, out of generic, unlabeled cartons. But then the cornflake suddenly turns, with a view of the cheery porker hoovering up not only the grain-based spillage, but the floor and other background scenery too—and indeed, going on to swallow the previous pages and the girl herself…before turning, ominously, on the final page toward readers. Maybe not so perfecto.

A crunchy debut with an unnerving surprise at the bottom of the bowl. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51466-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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


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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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.


When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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