No one does whimsy like Burningham; no one.

MOTOR MILES

Miles, a dog, learns to drive his own car, and everything changes.

From Burningham’s first droll lines paired with his expressively simple illustration, readers will know they are in for a rare treat—a book whose strong substance and story eschew gimmick and gloss and whose mastery of visual and narrative understatement shines throughout. Miles, the dog protagonist, is a difficult dog to live with, only enjoying trips “in the car up the hill to the café.” Miles’ owner, Alice Trudge, cannot be spending her days driving Miles to the café, so her neighbor, Mr. Huddy, offers to build Miles his own car. In a hilarious sequence of vignettes, Miles learns to drive, and after he has mastered it, Miles and Norman, Alice Trudge’s son, begin to take secret trips—to the ocean in early morning, through leaves in autumn, out in the countryside. It is hard to overstate the sheer aliveness with which Burningham, in a few artful pen, pastel, and watercolor strokes, manages to imbue his characters; Miles and Norman fairly brim with whimsical life. Miles becomes a happier, less difficult dog even after he gives up driving when Norman outgrows the small, dog-sized car—but Mr. Huddy may have another surprise in store for the two. The named human characters are all white, but they inhabit a multiracial world.

No one does whimsy like Burningham; no one. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9064-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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Little Owl loves the night forest. He can’t imagine a better place. He glides from friend to friend, watching and listening....

LITTLE OWL'S NIGHT

A graceful bedtime story celebrates the beauty found in night.

Little Owl loves the night forest. He can’t imagine a better place. He glides from friend to friend, watching and listening. Hedgehog snuffles for mushrooms. Turtle hides in her shell as fireflies dot the sky. But try as he might, Little Owl cannot wake Bear inside the Grumbly Cave. He snores soundly. But what if the bear has never seen stars? As morning draws near, Little Owl settles in on his branch and whispers softly to his mother, “[T]ell me again how night ends.” “Spiderwebs turn to silver threads,” she begins. “The sky brightens from black to blue, blue to red, red to gold.” But Little Owl does not hear. His wide, innocent green eyes have already shut tight. Srinivasan’s picture-book debut beckons readers to follow this curiously adorable creature through the sky. The moon and stars illuminate the dark background, and a flat palette of black, greens and browns blankets the forest in quiet stillness. More lyrical than linear, the story flits from one animal to the next. But readers won’t mind.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01295-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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