Somewhat simplistic in both art and story arc but good for a chuckle or two in early storytimes and for those just beginning...

READ REVIEW

BUNNIES!!!

What can you say about a title that includes three exclamation points? That it is full of pastel colors, that its hero is a monster called Declan (named only on the cover flap) and that it has very few words.

Declan is light blue with darker blue polka dots and has orange horns and a pink puffball at the end of his tail, and he greets everything: trees, clouds, butterflies and—bunnies!!! Four bunnies (peach, mint green, pink and blue) are quite startled by his enthusiasm; in fact, they flee it. Declan is crestfallen. He listlessly continues through the woods, saying hello limply to rock and stump and slug until he sees the foursome again, and they once again dash out of sight. Declan sadly greets a log and then the dirt and is drifting off into a sleepy funk when the bunnies approach, realizing he will not hurt them. They tap him on the back, and he wakes to spin them around and dance and play. But wait! Soon he is distracted by birdies! The birdies are pretty startled, too. Declan definitely has a toddler’s personality, especially one who finds his energy is overwhelming for some playmates. His friendship drama plays out in a mix of horizontal panels, full-page illustrations and double-page spreads (when he is at his most manic).

Somewhat simplistic in both art and story arc but good for a chuckle or two in early storytimes and for those just beginning to pick out words—like BUNNIES!!! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-230783-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

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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