I WANT A DOG

This entertaining, engaging read makes the most impossible pets seem…well, possible.

A charming interaction at an animal shelter leads to the adoption of a pet that’s better than a dog.

Agee’s (The Wall in the Middle of the Book, 2018) newest work opens on the softly picturesque business district of Happyvale. A small girl with brown skin and puffy black hair in a ponytail visits the animal shelter to ask for a dog, wagon in tow. But apparently they have every other animal except a dog, and the tall, white man who runs it tries to get her to take every single one. Their banter is absolutely delightful. As he tries to persuade the girl to take a baboon, a frog, even a goldfish (“It…knows how to play dead, just like a dog,” he says; “Mister, that goldfish is not playing dead”), the kid remains steadfast. Beginning readers will love the child’s firm reiteration of priorities: “That’s okay. I do not want a goldfish. I want a dog.” Exasperation hilariously clear in her body language, the girl wonders whether the man knows what a dog is, then finally changes her approach: “Do you even have a dog?” As the man confesses that he does not have the desired pet, he does bring her one last animal—which really ends up being better than a dog! Amazingly, the girl’s parents (who both present black) seem to agree.

This entertaining, engaging read makes the most impossible pets seem…well, possible. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55546-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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BEAR FINDS EGGS

From the Bear Books series

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static.

In his latest outing, Bear and his pals go in search of eggs.

Bear “lumbers with his friends through the Strawberry Vale.” Raven finds a nest; climbing up, “The bear finds eggs!”: a refrain that appears throughout. Instead of eating the robin’s eggs, however, Bear leaves a gift of dried berries in the nest for the “soon-to-be-chicks.” Next, the friends find 10 mallard eggs (as bright blue as the robin’s), and Bear leaves sunflower seeds. Then the wail of Mama Meadowlark, whose bright yellow undercarriage strikes a warm golden note, leads them to promise to find her lost eggs. With his friends’ assistance, Bear finds one, and they decide to paint them “so they aren’t lost again.” Another is discovered, painted, and placed in Hare’s basket. After hours of persistent searching, Bear suddenly spots the remaining two eggs “in a small patch of clover.” Before they can return these eggs, the chicks hatch and rejoin their mother. Back at his lair, Bear, with his troupe, is visited by all 17 chicks and the robin, mallard, and meadowlark moms: “And the bear finds friends!” Though this sweet spring tale centers on finding and painting eggs, it makes no overt references to Easter. The soft green and blue acrylics, predictable rhymes, and rolling rhythm make this series installment another low-key natural read-aloud.

Cheery fun that will leave series fans “egg”-static. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781665936552

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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