Both very silly and very appealing. (Picture book. 4-6)

A little boy of pleasingly indeterminate ethnicity goes out to his little backyard inflatable pool to find a whale in it.

It’s a very large, round, blue whale, which is kind of squished on top of the pool. It is way, way too big for it. Mom is reading and does not see the whale. The boy tries persuasion, counting to 10, enticing the whale into a game of fetch, even offering his allowance, but the whale does not budge. He even offers his neighbor’s much larger in-ground swimming pool (alert young readers will note the dorsal fin visible in the neighbor’s clear blue waters). Finally, he puts his floatie on top of the whale’s spout, just in time to hear Mom call naptime. That presents its own set of problems: not the toys and socks that are strewn about the bedroom floor, but the snoring occupant of his bed—a large bear with its own teddy. The front endpapers show the blue whale in various positions on the wading pool, the back endpapers show the bear tossing and turning and snoring, all the while clinging to that teddy. All the art is drawn in thick strong line and flat color, simple and accessible. The text comprises the boy’s play-by-play narration of the events, including an endearingly believable whine to his oblivious mother.

Both very silly and very appealing. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30037-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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