CHIRRI & CHIRRA, ON THE TOWN

Dring-dring, dring-dring!” Chirri and Chirra’s bicycle bells summon readers on another serene adventure.

This fifth book about the imperturbable bicycle-riding youngsters is something of a departure for the Japanese series, taking them into the human landscape of a nearby town instead of a tiny, fantastical one in surrounding nature. But that doesn’t make it any less adorable. A shop of yarn and thread “in every color!” offers the same visually detailed satisfaction as did earlier outings to a moles’ peanut farm (Chirri & Chirra Underground, 2019) or a bumblebees’ kitchen (Chirri & Chirra in the Tall Grass, 2017). The children each pick two balls of yarn and bicycle to a weaver’s, where they fall asleep as their yarn is woven into scarves. Following the faint sound of their names, they bicycle to “a beautiful house,” where they are welcomed in for soup. Lest children fear that the wee adventurers have become terribly prosaic, in the house’s garden they find parent birds who welcome them to a party celebrating their new babies. There is no danger in Chirri and Chirra’s world—just welcome and delight. Doi employs her characteristic smudgy style, rounded, flowing shapes surrounded by soft borders of white that reinforce the cozy feel. Most shops’ signs display Japanese characters, but the town’s denizens exhibit a variety of racial presentations; the protagonists have pale skin, rosy cheeks, black pageboys, and blue dot eyes.

Darling. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59270-278-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

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. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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