Playful illustrations make this book worthwhile.

PINKY CRASHES THE PARTY!

A wish for a particular birthday party guest comes true.

Penny is turning 6 and asks for a flamingo-themed party this year. She also requests a special guest: a flamingo named Pinky, who lives in the city zoo. Her mom says they should stick to her classmates—but when Penny looks into the backyard, she sees Pinky splashing around in the inflatable swimming pool! Penny tells him to stay out of sight; Pinky says, “Squawk.” Penny and her dad go to buy supplies, such as a piñata and cake, while Pinky tags along. Then they pick up Penny’s friends for a round of miniature golf before heading to the house for cake and “Pin the Feather on the Flamingo” (not Pinky!). As Mom and Dad hand out party favors, Mom finally twigs to Pinky’s presence. This book doubles as a game of sorts, as readers try to find the wayward flamingo at the party-supply store, on the golf course, and amid the partygoers. Illustrations are bright and fun in a simple cartoon style. The creativity in the themed decorations and visual plot embellishments means the majority of the story details occur within the pictures while the minimal text supplies only the barest skeleton. The mild silliness in this sequel to Portis and Richmond’s Pinky Got Out! (2019) will appeal to young animal lovers like Penny. Penny has brown hair and beige skin, and her parents are an interracial couple; her friends are diverse.

Playful illustrations make this book worthwhile. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-93302-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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