This sentimental story of a return voyage carries an important message—let's all take care of one another.

I'LL CATCH YOU IF YOU FALL

A little boy on a perilous adventure at sea needs someone to see him safely home.

The first double-page spread introduces a little boy in a yellow slicker and sou’wester, leaning precariously from a boat and dragging a net through the water. The charming, digitally rendered illustrations feature a lighthouse in the distance and a welcoming harbor with a dog keeping watch on the water. Large black text undulates like a wave across the page, asking: “Who will keep the boy safe?” With a turn of the page, his mother answers: “I will….I will hold him close…and never let him lean too far.” But who will keep them both safe? The boat’s captain will. And who will keep the boat safe? A star will guide it through a storm and safely back to harbor. Finally, the questions come to rest in a way that gently empowers the boy at the heart of the story and recalls its opening scene. Who will keep the star safe? “I will,” says the little boy, now holding his red net out his window: “I will lean out my window, but not too far… / and catch you if you fall." Marlow’s illustrations reveal a quaint, North Atlantic coastal setting; all characters are white, and both the boat’s captain and the little boy (under his slicker) sport cozy fisherman-knit sweaters.

This sentimental story of a return voyage carries an important message—let's all take care of one another. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5206-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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An A+ for Little E and his creator.

LITTLE EXCAVATOR

A petite excavator named Little E finds his place among a crew of full-sized, heavy-construction equipment working together to build a park.

The anthropomorphic Little E, with bright, friendly eyes and a cheery smile, invites readers into the story on the large-format cover. He is followed by a brown-and-white–spotted dog, which appears throughout the story as a friend to Little E. The construction vehicles arrive at an abandoned lot and begin working together to transform the property into a park. The rollicking, rhyming text names each type of rig and its function, including lots of sound effects and action verbs set in display type integrated into the illustrations: “Pusha-pusha smusha-smusha SMASH SMASH SMASH!” Little E tries to help with each step, but he is either too small or not strong enough for the task at hand. The last step of the park-construction project is the planting of a tree on an island reached by a bridge, but all the big rigs are too large to safely cross the wooden bridge. In a pitch-perfect conclusion, Little E is just the right size for the job. Dewdney, the late author/illustrator of the Llama Llama series, has constructed a solid winner for one of her final books, with an appealing main character, vibrant illustrations with varying perspectives, and an action-packed, rhyming text with sound effects just begging to be read aloud with dramatic effect.

An A+ for Little E and his creator. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99920-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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