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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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