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First-time author Markes’s impish tale will tickle tiny funny bones. Burdensome tasks seem a lot less onerous to a young boy when he considers the alternatives. Focusing on mundane happenings in a toddler’s typical day, Markes touches on a host of classic toddler power struggles: getting dressed, submitting to the confines of a car seat, and the dreaded bedtime, with its attendant traumas of brushing teeth and taking a bath. However, a quick peek at the animal kingdom provides the recalcitrant tot with all the motivation he needs to determine that the grass is greener on his side of the fence. Loathe naptime? Just think, Markes cautions readers, “If you were a bear, you would have to nap all winter long!” Preschoolers will delight in the unabashedly silly animal/human comparisons, and may even learn a little something too. For instance, donning one pair of shoes seems a breeze in comparison to a caterpillar’s whopping 16 tootsies that would need to be shod. Smith’s (Dear Daisy, Get Well Soon, 2000, etc.) lighthearted, full-color illustrations provide a perfect comic counterpart to the outlandish tale. Each topic culminates in a full-bleed, two-page illustration depicting both the human and animal youngsters engaged in similar activities, with uproariously funny results. A wonderfully droll way to diffuse toddler tantrums, this should be tucked into every diaper bag. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028465-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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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