A lively and clever volume about the importance of tackling new activities; perfect for toddlers who are ready for a little...

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    Best Books Of 2016

Try! Try! Try!

An energetic boy tells his animal friends that they already know how to dance in this board book for very young readers by Craig (In Our Tree, 2016, etc.).

A young boy in a cave with a flashlight in the cartoonish illustration by Tan announces that bears, like the gigantic brown one he stands next to, “love to roar!” The boy does, too, and soon the two (the child only a quarter of the beast’s size) roar together like best friends. The sound effects of the bellowing are written in a decorative font that spreads wide on the page around the pair. The boy also likes to fly with candy-colored pastel birds; the sound of their wings flapping as they carry him through the air displays that same oversized font. Next the boy joins his bunny pals to hop on the grass and his otter friends to play “slippity-slide” in their watery home. But when the muddy boy invites the animals to dance with him, they decline, embarrassed at their lack of ability (“Oh no! We can’t dance! / say my friends all-a-giggle”). Nonsense! The boy explains that if they can flap, wiggle, roar, hop, or slide, they can dance, too. All it takes is a little effort, as the book’s title emphatically declares. Soon, the animals are all vigorously dancing, using one another’s moves: the bear flaps and the squirrel (wearing an amusing “Dance Baby” T-shirt) roars. The cheerful volume offers suitable vocabulary for newly independent readers just gaining confidence. And lap readers impatient with longer books should find the pacing a joy. The lush illustrations remain a bit wiggly—on the cover, the boy’s limbs look a bit like wet noodles—but they delightfully fit the tone of the exuberant work. Readers should be encouraged by the message that they can apply the skills they love and are proficient at to pursuits they may be nervous about trying.

A lively and clever volume about the importance of tackling new activities; perfect for toddlers who are ready for a little plot with their pictures and for children who can proudly read aloud to a younger sibling.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9967212-4-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlbop Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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