An affirming animal tale with engaging writing and lovable characters.

THE TENT MOUSE AND THE RV MOUSE

Two mouse cousins disagree about the best way to camp in this picture book.

Thomas Tent-Mouse and his cousin Harvey RV-Mouse both enjoy outdoor fun, but each believes that his is “the only way to camp.” When Thomas invites Harvey on a trip, he says they’ll be fine. Harvey doubts this, “but he loved his cousin so he agreed.” By day, they have a delightful time, but Harvey is nervous hearing all the night noises, and the tent leaks on him during a rainstorm. On their next trip, Thomas agrees to do it Harvey’s way because he also loves his cousin. They have wonderful adventures, but at night, Thomas feels cut off from nature, even when it rains. Finally, the cousins agree that during their next escapade, Thomas will stay in his tent and Harvey in his RV, and they’ll both have a good time. Sponsler, as in her first book, Goodnight, Campsite (2015), helps prepare kids for the outdoor experience here. More than that, the tale celebrates friendship and acknowledges that tastes vary: “It’s okay to like different things.” The story charms through effective repetition, evocative writing, and appreciation for nature. Gutkovskiy provides lovely, skillful ink-and-watercolor illustrations full of expression and appealing details.

An affirming animal tale with engaging writing and lovable characters.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951633-01-1

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Kids Camping Books

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2020

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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