LARRY GETS LOST IN WASHINGTON, DC

From the Larry Gets Lost series

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

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. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

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

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. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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