This sequel is far from a dinosnore; here’s to joining these two pals on all their future adventures.

DIGGING FOR DINOS

From the Haggis and Tank Unleashed series , Vol. 2

If Abbot and Costello were rendered canine (and alive) they might well resemble this intrepid, dino-hunting doggie duo.

Tank, a Great Dane with a nose for excitement, and Haggis, her smaller, saner Scottish terrier companion, are pulled into another adventure thanks to a book on dinosaurs. As in their previous imaginative outing (All Paws on Deck, 2015), Tank is the instigator, hoping to find any dinos that might be hiding nearby. And for all that he fusses and moans, Haggis is just as game to play pretend as his stalwart, oversized companion. As before, the action largely takes place in graphic panels featuring dialogue bubbles, lightly stitched together by brief sentences of exposition. Engaging in homophone-heavy dialogue (Haggis: “You never know…” Tank: “Actually, I no a lot! In fact, I no as much as I yes”) and featuring the same dramatic beats as its predecessor (including the last-minute save by their owner, oblivious to her pets’ overactive fantasies), this latest walk on the wild side will please the pair’s fans, though it won’t offer them anything particularly new. That said, the wordplay is lively, gently challenging new readers with its snappy dialogue that sometimes requires multiple reads.

This sequel is far from a dinosnore; here’s to joining these two pals on all their future adventures. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-81889-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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