A slim storyline is enhanced by the detailed illustrations and the absurd behavior of adults who need a lesson in listening.

READ REVIEW

ELLA WHO?

An elephant comes to play, but none of the adults realizes that anything is unusual.

A little white girl has just moved into a new house. When a small elephant shows up, the girl tries to tell her mom, dad, and grandmother, but the distracted grown-ups believe she must be the girl next door and just keep repeating the titular phrase, “Ella WHO?” Although this is a one-joke story, the digital illustrations, softer in color and more delicate than many done in this medium, are amusing. When dad reaches for a wrench as he fixes the shower, the elephant quite naturally hands it to him with her trunk. The elephant reads a book that looks suspiciously like David McKee’s Elmer. Finally, a black man wearing a uniform with the word “sanctuary” shows up, looking for an elephant. The adults he queries tell him they haven’t seen one, but when the little girl reads the “missing” flier he leaves behind, she uses the facts to verify the elephant’s identity. She calls Fiona by name, confirms that the elephant loves apples but dislikes green beans, and phones the man to pick up the elephant. Her family remains oblivious to the day’s events. They are each busy in the living room as the little girl spots yet another animal in their front yard—a baboon, another escapee from the wild animal sanctuary down the street.

A slim storyline is enhanced by the detailed illustrations and the absurd behavior of adults who need a lesson in listening. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1904-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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