Better books about friendship exist, making this strictly an additional purchase

MY BEST FRIEND IS A GOLDFISH

What makes for a great best friend?

The protagonist of this book says: “Best friends enjoy the same things. // They play together all the time. / And they always get along with each other.” But suddenly, the narrator, dressed as an astronaut, and the child dressed as a pirate the protagonist has been playing with have a falling out. Now the narrator must turn to animals to find the solace of similarity. Cycling through the family’s dog, cat, hamster, and goldfish as possible new best friends, the narrator analyzes their relationships, but in the end, they are all found wanting. Sniffing things and eating on the floor alongside Murphy might be fun, but the dog has his own canine friends. The goldfish seems to be a good companion, but in reality, Fishy Robert just swim and eats. Finally the narrator realizes that friends don’t always like doing the same things: even as “cookies and milk are different…they’re still perfect for each other.” When the protagonist’s original playmate walks down the street, they fall right into their old relationship and go play tag. The cartoonish digital illustrations dominated by bold, primary colors depict both children with pale skin. They extend the text amusingly, but this is a one-note book about friendship.

Better books about friendship exist, making this strictly an additional purchase . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2601-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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

THE HUGASAURUS

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. 28, 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. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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