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A tongue-in-cheek invitation to make some choices about how we’d like to croak.

There are different theories.

On a trip to the natural history museum in the year 10,002,021 C.E., young Plib enjoys the exhibit showing how he and his fellow Nøørfbløøks evolved from frogs—but what really floats his lily pad is the exhibit on humans, his favorite kind of extinct creature. That night at bedtime he asks his mom what happened 10 million years ago, and she explains that they either mucked up the planet’s climate, exterminated themselves because they “liked to hate each other,” greedily split into haves and have-nots and stopped taking care of one another…or maybe learned at last to live in harmony until an asteroid hit the Earth and wiped them out. In any case, only scattered evidence of what they were like remains, and Hoppe illustrates this cogent recitation with (pre)historical scenes of trollish, speculatively reconstructed figures sporting fur, feathers, or fins along with hilariously mismatched bits of clothing from various eras, goofy teeth, and skin tones running to blues and purples. Plib likes the harmony-followed-by-asteroid scenario enough to go to sleep with a smile on his bulbous green face. Today’s readers may feel likewise, though even younger ones will leap to the understanding that if we want to make it happen we’d better hop to it.

A tongue-in-cheek invitation to make some choices about how we’d like to croak. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61775-927-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Black Sheep/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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A close encounter of the best kind.

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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