Supersaturated hues and maximum automotive whimsy make this one to pore over.

GUS'S GARAGE

Animal drivers in wacky vehicles visit the titular garage for special repairs.

Clever Gus, a smiling pig on two legs in green coveralls, salvages lots of unusual objects, just in case. When Rico, a biker rhinoceros, putt-putts in on his scooter complaining about his inadequate seat, Gus has just the thing. He replaces it with a big green easy chair, and Rico putt-putts happily away. Next, Gina the giraffe pulls up in a compact yellow car, colorful scarves covering her long neck. She needs “warm air.” Gus comes up with a stack of oil barrels, with a hole cut out for her head, heated by a stove connected to the barrels by several pipes. Walter the walrus, in a small blue-and-white car with an open sunroof, has the opposite problem. He’s too hot. Gus fixes a tub atop the car, where Walter can cool off. Timmers’ perspective is unvarying, depicting Gus and his garage to the left of the gutter and his customers on the right. This allows readers to notice that the huge heap of junk at the far left grows smaller over the course of the day as Gus raids his stash of “bits and bobs” to make the repairs with Rube Goldberg–esque flair. The repetitive, rhyming text appears below, its refrain “This goes with that. There. Just the job!” one children will be joining in on before long.

Supersaturated hues and maximum automotive whimsy make this one to pore over. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-776570-92-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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