Wolf vigorously denies that he’s cute. He’s wrong.

The eponymous wolf is a rotund, fanged, puglike, stray dog, and its first-person narration is printed in emphatic capital letters: “MOST WOLVES LIVE IN PACKS…BUT NOT ME. / I AM A LONE WOLF.” This last line is accompanied by pictures of two apron-clad people approaching the little dog. The aprons are emblazoned with a paw-print emblem, and the people cautiously crate the dog as it snaps and cries, “BARK BARK BARK.” The next spread shows the dog glowering in a pen within a cheery-looking animal shelter. The text reads, “I’M FINE ON MY OWN,” as happy, diverse families (notably including same-sex couples) smile while interacting with other dogs. Just below this textual rebuff arrives the girl poised to flout such sentiments. She has brown skin and voluminous, curly black hair, and she’s trailed by a woman who reads as her mother, with similar coloring, and a white-appearing, bespectacled man who reads as her dad. Unlike others, the girl is charmed by the dog, who continues to “BARK!” even at sympathetic workers. In a wordless spread, notable for its spare focus on them alone, the girl hugs the dog, then dashes away, leaving it bereft. But! She returns, leash in hand, and Wolf leaves with her family, now exclaiming, “I AM WOLF. / AND THIS IS MY PACK.” Working digitally, newcomer Miller creates her cartoon characters with emphatic swatches of matte color against generous white space.

Lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55329-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.


From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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