Sweet and muddy—err, sunny.

READ REVIEW

PUDDLE PUG

Are the pigs’ digs big enough for both a porcine family and a mud-loving pug?

Percy the pug loves puddles, the muddier the better. He even makes a map of his favorite puddles so he can find them easily. One day, he hears splashing on the other side of the fence and, peering through, sees the perfect puddle. He sneaks in under the fence and begins some serious splashing. The resident piglets don’t seem to mind, but the big sow glowers at him, and in no time, Percy is back outside the fence. Now all the old puddles seem inadequate. Every time he tries to sneak back, Mama sends him packing. A severe rainstorm changes everything: A tree crashes into the wallow, and all the pigs are displaced. Worse, tiny Petunia is missing. It’s Percy who comes to the rescue, finding the missing piglet thanks to his map of puddles. Reunited with Petunia, Mama’s whole body twitches “with piggly jiggly joy.” From then on, Percy is able to enjoy his very favorite puddle. This playful, accessible friendship story features some nice vocabulary choices, and its sly use of voice puts readers in Percy’s paws: “But his puddle did not love him back”—that big old sow is never mentioned. Partaking of an animation aesthetic, Yamaguchi’s pencil-and–digital paint illustrations are simple and clean, the animals adorable.

Sweet and muddy—err, sunny. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0436-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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