Ideal for those learning that efforts matter more than outcomes.


A petite porker strives for perfection.

It is Madame Paradee’s birthday, and Piglette must find a present. She wanders around Paris, peering into shop windows, but nothing seems right. Then a delicious smell catches her snout. There, in the window of Chef Pistache’s patisserie, are the most delectable confections! Piglette will learn how to bake and create a masterpiece cake for Madame Paradee. The idea is…perfect. However, baking is very precise, and Piglette produces more flops than flawless pastries. “Oh, piddle! I can’t disappoint Madame Paradee on her special day.” Piglette rolls up her sleeves and practices. On the day of the party, it is impossible to choose just one dessert to prepare, so she makes an Eiffel Tower of piled-high treats (depicted on a gatefold that requires a 90-degree turn to view). But: “Plip!…Plop!…PLOOP!”—suddenly the pastries start to fall! Piglette learns that perfectionism can be pretty painful. Brimming with alliteration, this tale of a sophisticated swine caters to Fancy Nancy fans, but Piglette also holds her own with those not so easily impressed with pink ruffles. Piglette’s determination and pluck shine. Byrne’s pictures are flooded with swirls, sugar, and sparkles, adding mouthwatering flair. Chef Pistache’s habit of speaking in rhyme when the narration and none of the other characters employ it is a bit baffling, however. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 20% of actual size.)

Ideal for those learning that efforts matter more than outcomes. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20453-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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