A few standard-issue facts shoveled into a quick dog’s-eye view of the Smithsonian and environs do not an effective tour...

LARRY GETS LOST IN WASHINGTON, DC

From the Larry Gets Lost series

The compulsively errant pooch’s latest touristic ramble takes him around the National Mall.

It’s a good thing the little dog is considerably less lame than the verse that chronicles his wandering: “Up sidewalks and stairs / Ran that little dog, Larry, / Then in through the doors… / …to a giant library!” Separated from his human family when he goes off after a fallen Popsicle, the dog’s search for them takes him on a long, looping course from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial, with quick scoots past the White House, through several museums and the National Archives, and into the Library of Congress. Skewes strews his flat-perspective cartoon illustrations with labels and descriptive notes for a select set of sights and sites, then closes with a page of study and research questions. Several of the captions, though, are printed on low-contrast backgrounds and so are hard to read. Moreover, only parts of Larry’s route are traced on one of the two aerial views (the other is a stylized overview of the city from the Beltway that is too sketchy even to indicate its radial street plan), and that route doesn’t reflect the actual order in which he sees things.

A few standard-issue facts shoveled into a quick dog’s-eye view of the Smithsonian and environs do not an effective tour make. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-57061-899-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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