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BEST DAY EVER!

An exuberant dog’s-eye view of friendship and forgiveness.

An energetic puppy narrates a day with her boy.

In the morning, she licks the face of her “best friend,” a boy with light brown skin who uses a manual wheelchair, “glad that [they’re] a pair.” In quick, rhythmic rhymes, she bounds along—chasing a cat, stealing a Frisbee, snatching a hot dog from disgruntled pigeons, and scaring a snake—to the titular refrain: “Best day ever!” But the tune changes when she rolls on a “nice dead fish.” “Down, girl! You get off me! / Phewy, what’s that smell?” yells her boy as she gazes up with heart-meltingly mournful eyes. “Not the best day ever,” she laments as she endures a sudsy bath. And when she accidentally knocks over a lamp, her boy’s exasperation is finally too much: “Worst day ever.” Soon, however, the boy comforts the dejected pup, apologizing for shouting: “I know it wasn’t cool. / I think we need more lessons. / We’ll go to training school.” The friendship restored, a huge, jubilant “Best day ever!” arcs across a sunset-tinged double-page spread, the exclamation point finished off with a tennis ball the narrator has leapt to catch. Illustrator Nixon, herself a wheelchair user, captures the bond between boy and dog with bold lines, bright, sun-laced colors, and endearing expressions, tenderly demonstrating that love is unconditional—a message that will reassure readers as well as their furry friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An exuberant dog’s-eye view of friendship and forgiveness. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-98783-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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THE HUGASAURUS

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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