DOG ON A FROG?

In a delightfully ridiculous continuation to Frog on a Log? (2015), when the bossy, rhyming cat announces where everyone must sit, the frog asserts a change in the rules.

Picking up from the first book’s last page, in which an amiable-looking basset is sitting on a frog, the nervous frog yells “HEY, DOG! GET OFF THE FROG.” Once again the know-it-all cat appears, restating the rules: “Cats sit on mats, / frogs sit on logs, / and dogs sit on FROGS!” But the frog protests and revises the rules to say “Dogs sit on logs, / and cats sit on gnats.” “OUCH!” exclaims the shocked cat. And so begins another round of cleverly silly statements about the proper seating of an assortment of different animals, insects, and even some fantastical beings (“dragons will sit on wagons,” and “canaries will sit on fairies”). All are assigned rhyming seating locations by the frog, whose ultimate revenge is a very comfortable lounge chair. The previous book’s winning layout is repeated, with boldly colored, opaque backgrounds hosting a bunch of surprised- or distressed-looking cartoon animals atop their ludicrously assigned perches. The fun of matching a nonsensical rhyme for each character will have kids shrieking with laughter as each new illustration is viewed. And new readers will swiftly acclimate to the repetitive pattern and smart vocabulary.

A triumphant sequel. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-11695-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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