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

DINOSAURS ON KITTY ISLAND

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. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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