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From the Chi-Chi and Pey-Pey series

An early reader to befriend.

A comics primer dressed up in an odd-couple school story for new readers.

Before the story starts, Chi Chi the chicken and Pey Pey the penguin break the fourth wall to orient new readers to comics basics. They explain that some speech balloons have a “pointy end” to indicate spoken language, while others show thoughts as a “bubbly cloud with little circles pointing to them.” They also introduce the term panel and instruct children to “read the panels from left to right…and top to bottom.” Subsequent pages follow Chi Chi and Pey Pey as they separately anticipate the start of school and then attend their first day together. Their words and thoughts effectively guide readers through the scenes as cute, appealing cartoon illustrations provide visual cues to assist decoding. It’s immediately clear that the birds are opposites, with Chi Chi feeling anxious about school while Pey Pey isn’t a bit worried. Once in their classroom, the teacher, Mrs. Possum (who confusingly looks like a rabbit), pairs them as class buddies. “Find something you and your buddy both like. We will share it with the class,” she says. The titular drama ensues since Chi Chi and Pey Pey seemingly have nothing in common, but Mrs. Possum encourages them to overcome their differences, and they do so in an unexpected, playful way.

An early reader to befriend. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 9781665931892

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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Likable dog Emma charms readers again (Letters from a Desperate Dog, 2006) in her anxiety-driven attempts to save her beloved owner, George, from the supposed clutches of new woman-on-the-scene Loretta. At first Emma believes Loretta is trying to kidnap George—she is holding his hand!—and her fears grow as Loretta spends more time at the house. Will they get married? Will Loretta’s dog Hankie hog the space on the couch? Emma scampers off to e-mail Ask Queenie, an advice column for dogs. Preschool children will relish pointing out when Emma has misunderstood a situation and cringe at her efforts, all involving bad behavior, to get rid of Loretta. But then Queenie contacts both dogs upon realizing that Emma and Hankie share concerns about the owners’ romance. After a chase by the dog catcher, appetizing Dumpster diving and one last bath, harmony is achieved. Christelow’s bright, cartoon-like illustrations in comic-book panels humorously display the antics while dialogue bubbles abet easy reading. Pitch perfect for those children adjusting to a new person in their lives. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24205-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Hayes, the Geisel Award–winning creator of the Benny and Penny stories (Benny and Penny in the Big No-No, 2009, etc.) introduces a new character in this collection of short graphic stories. Patrick, a young bear, goes on a picnic with his mother that ends up taking place inside due to rain, learns to deal with a bully and takes—or doesn't take—a nap. The vocabulary is just right, featuring many of the sight words that kids in kindergarten and first grade are expected to know, and the softly colored cartoon format is appealing. The fact that it's a collection makes it even more accessible—ambitious readers can tackle the whole thing at once; those just starting out can read one at a time. However, the content seems a bit young for the intended audience; those ready to read this are long past naptime, and Patrick's best friend still seems to be his mother, making this perhaps a better choice for kids learning to read at an especially young age rather than the early-elementary crowd. For the most part, though, the format, vocabulary and art work well here to encourage kids to read on their own and have fun doing it. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-935179-09-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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