A sweet tale in Sashi’s series that should appeal to dog lovers.

Sashi and the Puppy Mill Girl

From the Sashi series , Vol. 3

Sashi, the formerly shy sheltie, returns in this third illustrated adventure, tackling the issue of puppy mills.

In Greiner (Sashi Adopts a Brother, 2015) and Spicer’s latest installment, Sashi is one of two dogs living permanently with a family—a mother and daughter—that fosters Shetland sheepdogs until they finally can be adopted. Sashi welcomes the arrival of new dogs, but when Cinnamon appears, she knows this canine is different. Burdened by a dirty and unkempt coat, the poor dog exhibits fright and suspicion. As Sashi’s humans explain, Cinnamon came from a puppy mill, where she was never given enough food and water and never showered with affection. Cinnamon lived in a cage, making puppies rather than serving as a beloved pet. Her new caretakers are determined to help Cinnamon heal, and Sashi likes the small dog right away. Sashi’s brother Buddy also forges a friendship with Cinnamon quickly, and the two dogs teach their new pal how to behave in a family, while the humans offer her treats, care, and comfort. Cinnamon learns to love cavorting outdoors—something she’s never experienced before—and after some time in her new home, she starts to play with Sashi and Buddy. The two family shelties show Cinnamon how to receive goodies from their humans, and she learns that the caretakers will give her delicious food as well as attention (including petting). The humans and family shelties help train Cinnamon until another clan with dogs comes to visit. After several meetings, the new family welcomes Cinnamon into its home, where she can be loved forever. Though the idea of puppy mills can be a scary, threatening concept for young readers, Greiner and Spicer present that dark place with just the right amount of tension, not dwelling on it but not shying away from the reasons Cinnamon has trouble trusting people. As usual, Spicer captures the personality of the dogs in her charming illustrations beautifully, and readers are likely to fall in love with the dogs as much as the human characters do. Greiner’s notes about choosing the right kind of dog for a household are important for parents discussing pets with children.

A sweet tale in Sashi’s series that should appeal to dog lovers.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61254-930-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.


One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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