From the Remy Sneakers series , Vol. 1

A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes.

When an evil toymaker threatens to release a fleet of robot pigeon spy drones, it’s up to urban raccoon Remy to organize and lead the resistance.

A series of break-ins by a masked bandit that looks just like him (even down to the recycled sneakers) prompts Remington Raccoon to recruit a Critter Crew of mice and rats (the pigeons refuse to cooperate) to help clear his name. But his investigation soon turns up a larger threat, as human gadgeteer Walter Fry has concocted not just a robotic raccoon thief, but an army of other robo-rodents—and, worse yet, flights of titanium-plated pigeon spy drones. Will Fry succeed in his ostensibly altruistic but ominous scheme to put the entire city under surveillance? Not so fast! Thanks to late but timely help from the pigeons, a “perfect storm of rodent rage” in the streets leads to ultimate victory for the furry and feathered defenders of the right to privacy. Sherry creates his headlong kickoff with page-filling, monochrome ink-and-wash cartoons with dialogue and narrative in several big, hand-lettered–style types. Led by tough-looking mayor Sheila Spike, human figures all appear to be white but are also rare in the multispecies cast. Throughout, Remy shows a gift for oratory (“We may all be different, but when we work together, there is nothing we can’t do!”) that may serve him well should he go into politics. First, though, he has a new problem, as the episode ends with the shocking discovery that the entirety of his precious trash collection has mysteriously disappeared. Stay tuned.

A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03460-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017


From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014


Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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