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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Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

LITTLE RED SLEIGH

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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

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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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