It’s almost too cute to get the message across that people should knit sweaters for toy animals—not for the real critters.

READ REVIEW

PENGUINS DON'T WEAR SWEATERS!

A cautionary tale for young readers about the aftermath of oil spills near penguin habitats.

Penguins frolic and feed in the ocean, showing off their black-and-white bodies and orange feet and beaks. They are busy doing what it is that penguins do: “huddling, cuddling, waddling” and “diving deep.” Then a tanker passes by and leaves “oil pools in inky puddles.” The penguins are in serious trouble until Big Boots with camera in hand appears. A campaign to knit sweaters for the penguins is the result until glove-clad hands show up to remove the sweaters and finally wash off the oil with toothbrushes. Tamura’s well-told tale of ecological disaster and proper penguin rescue is told in rhythmic but not rhyming couplets. Her author’s note references an actual event on Phillip Island, Australia (where visitors can view a penguin walk), and explains how knitted garments are actually harmful for penguins. Rieley’s digitized pencil, ink, and handmade textures are appealing. His palette of blues and whites for the ocean, sky, and ice provides a perfect setting, both aerial and eye-level, for the penguins. The knitted sweaters, with close-ups of needles in action, are colorful if inappropriate for the recipients. Note that one of them features the publisher’s penguin logo.

It’s almost too cute to get the message across that people should knit sweaters for toy animals—not for the real critters. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99696-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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