A high-energy read with plenty of kid appeal.

POTATO PANTS!

Nightshades clash more than just their personalities in this high-energy picture book.

A potato is very excited about getting a pair of potato pants. He rushes to Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants store, along with a horde of other tubers, googly eyes, smiles, and teeth drawn haphazardly onto collaged-in photographs and drawings. But one giant eggplant is also in the pants store, trying on a loud yellow garment patterned with pineapples. At first the potato argues that “Eggplants don’t even wear pants!” (perhaps that would be too ridiculous). It turns out that “Yesterday was Eggplant Pants Day,” but the potato is still suspicious; “Yesterday,” he says, “I was walking along, minding my own potato-y business…when he ran by and PUSHED ME right into a trash can!” Not wanting to patronize the same establishment, the potato lurks outside the store, even calling a grocery store in the hopes they might sell tater togs (or even a pair of “cucumber cords”), to no avail. Finally he bursts into the store, sending the eggplant flying, only to find that another root has snatched up the last pair of pants. Two apologies and one pair of display pants later, the conflict is all patched up, and the two friends dance the Robot. Zany and meandering, this story will make kids laugh despite the uneven pacing and maybe even model the art of apology.

A high-energy read with plenty of kid appeal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10723-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous.

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THE KING OF KINDERGARTEN

Newbery honoree Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017) shows a black boy what to expect on his first day as “king” of kindergarten.

A young boy greets the reader with a sweet smile. “The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. / It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown.” The text continues in second person while the boy gets ready for his first day—brushing “Ye Royal Chiclets,” dressing himself, eating breakfast with his mother and father before riding “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress.” The kind teacher and the other children at his table are as eager to meet him as he is to meet them. Important topics are covered in class (“shapes, the alphabet, and the never-ending mystery of numbers”), but playing at recess and sharing with new friends at lunch are highlights too, followed by rest time and music. The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king’s smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. The other children and parents are a mix of races; the teacher and staff are mostly brown.

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4074-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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