This sophisticated picture book works too hard at its important theme, but it may appeal to children of a mathematical bent.

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LOVE, TRIANGLE

When can a Triangle cause real trouble?

When it comes between Circle and Square, true best friends “since they were a dot and a speck.” Each shape is anthropomorphized: stick-figure hands and feet, different types of eyes, stereotypical spectacles for the squarish “bookworm,” yellow-striped headband for Circle, who “knew how to rock and roll,” and cool blue forelock for the “bold and exciting Triangle.” Colors in retro-style digital illustrations look a little toned down from bright crayon colors but still pop. The basic shapes are echoed and sometimes combined in other illustration elements. Adults may want to point these out or ask young children to search for them (the four triangles in a grilled-cheese sandwich, a party hat), but this book also focuses on what happens when a new, third person changes the relationship of an established pair. The text and illustrations attempt to make these emotional changes (and the reactions to them) tangible, but they sometimes fail by using visual and verbal puns that will not be fully understood by child readers. When Square and Circle pull too hard on Triangle’s sides, the shape becomes “pointless” and Triangle’s body disappears, leaving only his facial features, for instance. To solve the problem, Square repairs to the library and the lab, Circle trains hard, and they both work together to bring back their friend, forming “quite a trio.”

This sophisticated picture book works too hard at its important theme, but it may appeal to children of a mathematical bent. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241084-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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