Nonetheless, the short, funny chapters, over-the-top characters and engaging artwork will give this one plenty of appeal,...

LULU WALKS THE DOGS

The second hilarious episode to feature feisty Lulu (Lulu and the Brontosaurus, 2010), who almost always gets what she wants.

This time, what Lulu wants is so outrageous that her mother and father tell her she is going to have to earn the money for it herself, so Lulu hatches a business plan to earn the money by walking dogs. It turns out, however, that Lulu is a dismal failure at dog walking. Enter Fleischman, Lulu’s goody-goody, smarty-pants, neat-as-a-button, uber-helpful and incredibly annoying neighbor. He can certainly help Lulu with her dog-walking scheme. The question is whether spoiled, prideful Lulu can stand him long enough to let him. Smith’s droll illustrations interspersed throughout the text add to the humor and developing conflict by playfully emphasizing the differences between Lulu and Fleischman and creatively dramatizing their most interesting moments. Unfortunately, Viorst’s numerous authorial asides—in which the narrator insists on control of the storyline and stops for brief question-and-answer sessions with readers—come across as more confusing than clever because the voice and personality of the narrator are almost indistinguishable from Lulu’s.

Nonetheless, the short, funny chapters, over-the-top characters and engaging artwork will give this one plenty of appeal, especially to kids just venturing into chapter-book territory. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3579-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

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. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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