A serviceable addition to the small group of books that deal with death for the youngest audiences.

GOODBYE, GRANDPA

Young Bear experiences the loss of his grandpa, but his good friends help him through the experience.

Bird brings the light-brown Bear over to a gray bear who’s seemingly asleep on the ground. As Bear weeps, and Chicken arrives with a first-aid kit thinking Bear is wounded, Elephant explains death, saying: “When you’re dead, you can’t talk, move, or breathe. You’re no longer alive.” Elephant organizes a simple ceremony: “We are going to say goodbye to your grandpa.” Bear creates a special gift: “A drawing of a fish!” Chicken makes a bouquet of yellow flowers, the kind Grandpa liked. They form a procession, and each one does something special near the body. “Chicken lays down her flowers and Elephant trumpets a song. / …[Bear] finds a good spot for his drawing and gives Grandpa one last long hug.” As night falls, the friends make a fire and speak of Grandpa tenderly. Thoughtful adults can use this simple book with its heartfelt text and solemn, cartoon animals to explain death to young children, although there is one jarring sentence in this (uncredited) translation from Dutch. When the animals approach the dead body for their ceremony, the text reads: “It feels weird, sad, and a little exciting, too.” Caregivers may find “exciting” the wrong word for these circumstances.

A serviceable addition to the small group of books that deal with death for the youngest audiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-373-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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

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Extremely simple and rather sweet.

BULLDOZER'S CHRISTMAS DIG

From the Bulldozer series

Bulldozer is worried about what to give his friends for Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Dump Truck is carrying, Digger Truck is stringing, and Crane Truck is lifting—all in service of decorating for Christmas. But Bulldozer is on the side, surrounded by cats, worrying. He has not a single gift for his friends. What can he do? He sees a tire half buried in the snow and wonders what other treasures might be there. He starts to dig, and he hits something…but it turns out to be junk. He keeps on digging and finds something else: “more junk.” He keeps digging and digging. The piles grow larger, the sky gets darker, and Bulldozer’s hope fades. But then he thinks he sees something through the snow. He pokes the pile of junk this way and that. He adds bits and pieces. As his friends call out to him that it’s quitting time, Bulldozer puts last touches on his gift. He moves aside to reveal his creation to his friends, and all are pleased with the gift. The little yellow Bulldozer with his entourage of animal friends is a likable character whose plight children will relate to and whose noncommercial solution is a model for creative youngsters to take as inspiration. Best for wrapping a message of giving within a truck-loving package full of sound effects. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Extremely simple and rather sweet. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3820-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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