Silly reads for new readers to dig into.


From the Giggle Gang series

A turnip-loving duck and its friends defend their garden.

Alas, the duck, sheep, dog, and donkey immediately discover the eponymous pest in the garden when it (a groundhog?) eats a row of beans. The duck is frantic that turnips are next, but instead the pest eats the sheep’s favorite crop: corn. Peas occupy the next row, and the pest gobbles them up, too. Instead of despairing, however, the donkey cries, “Yippee! He ate ALL THE PEAS!” and catching the others’ puzzled looks, continues, “I don’t like peas.” After this humorous twist, the only uneaten row is sown with turnips, and the duck leaps to devour them before the pest can do so. In a satisfying, funny conclusion, the duck beams when the dog, sheep, and donkey resolve to plant a new garden and protect it with a fence, only to find out that it will exclude not just the groundhog, but the duck, too. A companion release, What Is Chasing Duck?, has the same brand of humor and boldly outlined figures rendered in a bright palette, but its storyline doesn’t come together as well since it’s unclear why the duck is scared and why the squirrel that was chasing it doesn’t recognize the others when they turn and chase him at book’s end.

Silly reads for new readers to dig into. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-94165-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...


A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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