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SPACEBOT

Outtasight! An extraterrestrial lands in the night.

Strange beeps and a blazing light awaken household appliances. The house glances skyward as does the family pup, who’d been snoozing in the doghouse. The light turns out to be a UFO, out of which strolls a metallic, robot dog with a glowing red nose. The dog instantly recognizes the newcomer as a kindred species and welcomes it with open paws, hoping the visitor will become a playmate. However, the creature ignores its Earthling counterpart and is heartily greeted by…the aforementioned appliances who cheer for “Spacebot” like it’s a long-lost electronic relation. When it points its metallic paw upward, the devices take their cue: They soar into the sky and perform playful acrobatics, descending and returning home at the bot’s direction. Meanwhile, the dog has been futilely attempting to fly as well but has remained earthbound. A surprise awaits, though. Before Spacebot departs, it tosses a glowing red ball to the pup. This “gift” fits right on pup’s nose and bestows the gift of flight. Guess who flies to the moon at the end of the story? This silly, quirky tale’s simple rhyme scheme reads and scans well; minimal text and lots of white space permit focus on characters and action. The cartoon illustrations are lively, energetic, and expressive, and readers should enjoy the escapades of both appliances and pup.

Make space on shelves for this one. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4436-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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