Best for children of Bone fans.

SMILEY'S DREAM BOOK

Smiley Bone flies with the birds in this picture-book outing for the character from Smith’s Bone graphic novels.

Smiley is taking a walk in the woods on a beautiful day. He listens to the birds singing, which makes him wonder how many there are. He counts the many-colored birds, each chirping musical notes the color of their plumage. By the time he reaches seven, Smiley is flying alongside the birds he’s counting. He stops counting after he hits 12 and just enjoys his flight with the flock (some of whom have hats or scarves on). Then a bird of prey attacks, terrifying the songbirds. Smiley gets up in the attacker’s beak…and literally scares the poo out of it. His bird friends thank him, and he counts back down to one only to find himself snoozing under a tree. He realizes it’s all been a dream…but a good one, the kind that makes even the scary ones “worth it.” Smith applies graphic-novel conventions to this picture book; nearly every page is framed like a comic panel, and the limited dialogue is all presented in dialogue balloons. Little readers unfamiliar with the Bone comics won’t know that this fantasy character isn’t supposed to fly, and there really isn’t much of a story, but the gentle message may be good as bibliotherapy for children who have nightmares, and the bright colors are inviting.

Best for children of Bone fans. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-67477-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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