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

READ REVIEW

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more