A reassuring tale that celebrates the uniqueness of each dog (or person) and the creation of a purposeful life. Three cheers...

ANTOINETTE

From the Gaston and Friends series

The beloved puppies of Gaston (2014) are back, this time with Antoinette’s story of self-discovery as she reveals that every dog has a gift to share.

Mrs. Bulldog knows each of her pups is special. It’s easy to see the talents of Rocky, Ricky, and Bruno. But Antoinette? Well, Mrs. Bulldog reassures her daughter there’s something exceptional about her. Unsure, Antoinette plays with her siblings and the Poodle family until one day a pooch goes missing! When her brothers can’t find the errant dog, Antoinette determinedly takes up the cause and ultimately saves the day. Once again, DiPucchio and Robinson don’t miss a comedic beat, creating a playful and funny tale full of warmth that deftly explores complex themes of belonging, self-worth, and purpose. Robinson’s seemingly simple artwork belies his masterful ability to imbue his characters and the places they live with an authenticity and humanity that move readers beyond the surface of the page. Done in a warm palette, the sophisticated acrylic paintings create a sense of depth through scale and repetition. Spot illustrations in the rescue scene act like slow-motion film frames to great effect, and readers will adore the motley paw patrol running before the Louvre and its iconic glass pyramid.

A reassuring tale that celebrates the uniqueness of each dog (or person) and the creation of a purposeful life. Three cheers for the winning Antoinette, who “could not—would not—give up!” (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5783-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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