A solid choice for dog lovers and those who want to better appreciate how dogs help humans.

DOGS AT WORK

GOOD DOGS. REAL JOBS.

Children lament time apart from their hardworking dogs.

“There they go. Off to who knows where. / What do they do all day? And how could they leave us behind?” So lament a Black child with Afro puffs and a White child with braids looking out their window at dogs on their way to work. All of the dogs stand on their hind legs, looking very much like adult humans (complete with briefcase, purse, or headphones) on their way to work. The illustrations respond to the children’s lament by chronicling dogs’ many jobs (jobs that dogs actually have in real life): therapy dogs, lobster-diving dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, rescue dogs, a small-town mayor, and more (further information is given in the “barkmatter” at the end of the book). The inclusion of “mom dogs” as a dog job is wonderful. There is great ambiguity in who is speaking in the accompanying text—is it the dogs who need to cuddle, eat, and so forth, or the children?—which may lead to some confusion for readers. OHora’s signature boldly outlined acrylic paintings present very expressive characters, dogs and humans alike, and are charmingly whimsical. The joy in the illustrations is palpable, and seeing the many ways dogs help humans will be especially touching to dog lovers. Many dog breeds are represented along with children of different races and abilities. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid choice for dog lovers and those who want to better appreciate how dogs help humans. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-0-06-290631-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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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 sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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