Rich images and a lovable dog make up for the slightly cloying message in this promising debut.

READ REVIEW

TRICKY

A dog and his man find redemption in this old-time cinema-style picture book.

The Duke, a spindly, menacing white man in a dapper suit and bowler, is known around town for his dastardly deeds. Tricky, his loyal accomplice, applies his canine wiles in tripping people, menacing children, and pilfering baked goods. But the way to this dog’s moral compass is through his stomach, and when the new baker, Ms. Paisley, offers him a treat, he overcomes his suspicion of this kindness—“and for the first time, Tricky realized that what they were doing was WRONG.” Tricky takes his change of heart out on his owner, wreaking havoc on the house until he’s caught, kicked out, and rehomed with brown-skinned Ms. Paisley. This loss spurs the Duke toward his own rehabilitation; readers learn that “if old dogs can learn new tricks, perhaps the Duke could too.” There’s not much complexity in either arc, since every character is broadly drawn as good, bad, or formerly bad, and the text can be a bit heavy-handed, perhaps gearing it for younger children. The animated illustrations are especially deft at showing small shifts in body language, making even the nasty Duke somewhat endearing.

Rich images and a lovable dog make up for the slightly cloying message in this promising debut. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77147-252-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more