Larry could use a better compass.


From the Larry Gets Lost series

As Larry Gets Lost again per series formula, the dog and his boy, Pete, look for alphabet letters and explore New York City.

The sights they take in are sometimes specific and sometimes generic, but they are mostly iconic: “C is for Central Park and the Chrysler building,” while “D is for deli.” “W is for Wall Street,” and “Y is for Yankee Stadium” exemplify New York City, but “I is for ice cream” seems a bit of a stretch. Several entries will require some context for many readers, such as “A is for art” (a lineup of Warhol soup cans at the Museum of Modern Art); “H is for the High Line”; and “V is for the Village” (Greenwich Village, that is). In Skewes’ retro-styled illustrations, Pete is a white boy who looks a bit like Elroy Jetson, with hair puffing out from beneath the brim of a baseball cap, and Larry is similarly stylized. The mostly silhouetted background figures that occasionally appear do nothing to convey the city’s tremendous cultural diversity. The pages are largely just one- or two-color designs in a sophisticated palette that occasionally works against meaning: The blue-on-blue “N is for neon at night” (in Times Square) is devoid of neon. The square size makes the pages feel cramped. NY Is for New York, by Paul Thurlby (2017), does much the same thing and is far more attractive.

Larry could use a better compass. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63217-167-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.


From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one.


From the My First series

Kitten care presented early-reader style.

“Something soft and furry / Is coming home with me. // It is my new kitten. / She is as sweet as can be!” First-person, easy-reading text describes meeting the kitten, feeding the kitten, playing with the kitten, then taking it to the vet and keeping it safe. The first half of this volume is presented in rhyme with Wachter's photos of real children of various races and their kittens (always the same kitten-and-child pairings) imposed on simple cartoon backgrounds. On other pages, photos of kittens (all cute as the dickens) leaping, scratching, running, and sleeping appear against similar backgrounds. The second half reiterates the same information but in more detail. It passes on instructions in simple language for tasks like introducing a kitten to its litter box and interpreting the sounds and body language of your new furry friend. Jumping the species barrier, Biscuit creator Capucilli does a fine job of instructing young, new pet owners in the care of their wee feline friends in this companion to My First Puppy (2019). This helpful guidebook ends with a message encouraging aspiring young pet friends to adopt from shelters. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85.7% of actual size.)

Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7754-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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