The clever supposition will keep kids imagining the amusing possibilities of one common story.

A cat and a dog’s lazy day on the couch is interrupted by the appearance of a bold mouse.

What actually happens is related through a series of questions to which the cat responds, correcting certain assumptions that did not occur. The possible scenarios are depicted in the fully expressive acrylic paintings integral to the imaginative (though sometimes incorrect) narrative, as one version is outlined within the questions and then the correct perspective is presented. “So there was a scary dog, right?” Here readers see an orange cat with eyes wide open partially hiding behind the couch where a large white dog is sitting wearing a spiked collar and with an angry, alert expression on its face. “No!” is the response, and the dog is revealed to be mild-mannered and plain-collared. “But there was a cat, right?” Both dog and cat look utterly astonished. “Yes” is the response. “And the dog was wide awake, right?” The dog, sitting upright, is pondering the situation while the cat snoozes. “No!” is the response. “But the cat saw a mouse, right?” This exchange continues until the story’s tangible outcome is eventually told. Fox’s intriguing call-and-response storytelling approach allows readers to surmise what might have happened against what really took place. The mouse is chased into a hole, and Fox gives kids another opportunity to continue the story. “And then the mouse came out to say hi, right?” The mouse stands before a bewildered dog and cat holding a violin and bow. “Hmmm, what do you think?” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The clever supposition will keep kids imagining the amusing possibilities of one common story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4169-8688-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021


A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

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 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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