An engaging title for kids with an important lesson, only slightly hampered by its thin, confusing setting.

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The Adventures of Petey Pots and Pans

In Bashir’s debut children’s book, a little dog struggles with his unusual name.

Petey Pots and Pans is a Chihuahua with an odd appellation, even for a dog. He lives with his human owners and another canine named Ducky Bobby. One day, he comes home “very upset from school,” and over the next few days, he endeavors to avoid going back. At the same time, he refuses to tell Ducky Bobby or his parents what the matter is. Finally, he admits that “[a]ll the kids at school laugh when the teacher calls my name.” His human “mama” comforts him, and tells him a story about a little boy with an unusual name who grew up to become president of the United States. The story apparently refers to President Barack Obama, although it never clearly spells the reference out. Kids who are familiar with the current president will be delighted to make the connection, but later generations may not see it as readily, so Petey’s conversation with his mama may lose some significance in future readings. Similarly, Petey and Ducky Bobby go to school like human children, but it’s never clearly established that they’re stand-ins for kids, or whether they live in a world in which dogs also go to school, the same way that children do. Beyond these puzzling touches, however, the book has a lot to offer. The overall premise is intriguing, and many children will be able to relate to it. The book’s fun format features rhymed, blue text, coupled with color photos of dogs in poses that match the story’s context. Illustrations of dogs and bones also frame each page. As a result, children will enjoy paging through this book to look at the pictures, even if some of its plot needs further explanation.

An engaging title for kids with an important lesson, only slightly hampered by its thin, confusing setting.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-1493120079

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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