This whimsical, intriguing, and perplexing puzzle provides an entertaining introduction to puffins.

THE PUFFIN PROBLEM

When a coastal city in Newfoundland is mysteriously inundated with puffins, no one knows what to do until “someone small and smart” devises the perfect plan.

Suddenly, puffins are “popping up everywhere.” Could they be attracted to the city lights, the rows of colorful houses, or the seafood restaurants? Regardless, puffins appear downtown in “unexpected places.” Overhead and underfoot, puffins disturb traffic and businesses, make pets and pigeons uncomfortable, and generally interfere with “everyone’s fun.” People start collecting puffins, hoping to export them to a faraway place—maybe Iceland. Then a clever girl offers a plan to temporarily solve the “puffin problem.” Endnotes explain how the droll, spare, simple text fictionalizes an actual annual occurrence in St. John’s, when puffins become stranded on land. A “Some Fun Puffin Facts” section provides puffin miscellany. The equally droll, spare, and simple pencil-and-watercolor illustrations rely on judicious use of white space, precise lines, and flat colors to produce amusing, detailed drawings of city houses, streets, and businesses. Discerning readers must look carefully, however, to visually detect the tiny, neatly rendered, but quite distinctive puffins perched on rooftops, doorsteps, telephone booths, fountains, playground equipment, basketball hoops, soccer balls, and carousels.

This whimsical, intriguing, and perplexing puzzle provides an entertaining introduction to puffins. (notes) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-927917-14-5

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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