As in so many of his other books, Burningham’s appeal lies in his ability to invent a fantasy scenario available only to...

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THE WAY TO THE ZOO

What could be more exciting than discovering a hidden door in your bedroom that opens to a secret passageway to the zoo?

With characteristic simplicity and economy of line, veteran illustrator Burningham conveys the wonder of Sylvie’s discovery, thus fulfilling a common childhood fantasy—to bring real, live zoo animals into your room and have them sleep in your bed. Sylvie visits the zoo every evening, chooses an animal and brings it to her room. Some are small enough to fit comfortably in her bed. Others are more problematic; a monkey steals things, the penguins splash noisily, and even the baby elephant is too big. Pandemonium erupts when one day Sylvie forgets to close the secret door and finds the animals crowded into her living room after school. The shy little girl finds a big voice within herself and bellows at the animals, who exit in a hurry. Sylvie rushes to clean up the mess before her mother gets home, setting up an innocent parental punch line: “[I]t looks as if you had the whole zoo in here!” Luckily, the way to the zoo remains a secret, and the animals can still visit her at night.

As in so many of his other books, Burningham’s appeal lies in his ability to invent a fantasy scenario available only to young children, accomplishing it again here with consummate grace .(Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7317-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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The gentle ending, with pony and friends cuddled up for bed, slows the trotting long enough— just the way a book for...

NONI THE PONY

Noni, friendly and funny, is the perfect pony for preschoolers.

Like Noni herself, the light rhyme, bustling with rhythm and easy to read, is friendly and funny. Lester’s art, which shows every apple, carrot, cow and hen she mentions in her text, invites new readers and horse-loving listeners to join Noni and her best friends, Dave Dog and Coco the Cat, in their play. Each couplet is accompanied by Lester’s droll illustrations. The animals appear humorously flat, almost as if Lester cut them out and glued them in by hand. The movements are exaggerated and at times remarkably unhorselike. The cover is especially amusing, showing Noni doing a split in midair. “They ambush each other and play hide-and-seek, / racing and chasing and jumping the creek,” is illustrated with arrows and dotted lines to show the movement of the animal friends, while subtle eye movements let the reader know exactly who is hiding from whom. The layout, just one couplet per spread with every word illustrated, is perfect for anxious youngsters who want to prance through stories over and over again but not linger too long on any page.

The gentle ending, with pony and friends cuddled up for bed, slows the trotting long enough— just the way a book for toddlers should end. Night-night, Noni. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5959-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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