DINOSAURS ON KITTY ISLAND

Sure to elicit giggles with every “RAWR!” of distress.

Watch out, dinosaurs: Those kitties look innocent, but they are adorable bundles of menace.

The reptilian residents of Dinosaur Island are bored. The narrator encouragingly tells them they can make dirt forts or watch things sink in tar pits or even reassemble skeletons…but they’ve done all that! They want to play with the kitties of Kitty Island. “Dinos, that’s cuckoo pants.…Fun with those felines will end in catastrophe.” The pink and yellow and calico kitties who conquered the Dinosaur Island dinos in Kitties on Dinosaurs (2020) are ready for a reverse play date. Game No. 1? Launch the Lizards—with a geyser. After an alarming, wet flight through the air, surely the dinos have learned their lesson…but nope. Game No. 2 involves another frightening flight, this one aboard a deflating dirigible. Game No. 3? Hairball Floaty Races, which is both gross and dangerous, once the kitties attach the outboard motors to the revolting swim rings! The dinos are starting to get the idea these kittens are playing for keeps. Game No. 4 starts with jumping into a foreboding chasm…but it ends in the Tiny Baby Kitty Playroom, which teems with bevies of even smaller kitties. That has to be safe, right? You’d be surprised. Slack’s gleefully silly artwork features wide-eyed, innocent (-looking) kittens and scary (but usually terrified) dinos in bright cartoon colors. The kittens’ mouths are usually fixed in mischievous V’s, contrasting with the dinosaurs’ doleful expressions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to elicit giggles with every “RAWR!” of distress. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10841-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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

HEY, DUCK!

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

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. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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