Stick with a tried-and-true version of “The Three Little Pigs” and one of the charming pug stories of the last few years,...

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THE THREE LITTLE PUGS

Three pug puppies interact with an assertive cat in this simple, humorous story with not-so-subtle references to “The Three Little Pigs.”

The puppies, Gordy, Jilly, and Zoie, love active games followed by joint naps in their big wicker basket. When the unnamed “big bad cat” boldly takes over their bed, the puppies must figure out how to dislodge him. They try making the basket uncomfortable by adding items related to straw, sticks, and bricks. Gordy puts a pile of drinking straws in the bed, and later, Jilly adds sticks, using pencils, crayons, drum sticks, and knitting needles (but not sticks from a tree). Zoie contributes bricks, including Lego blocks, a pack of playing cards, and one larger, toy construction brick. When none of these methods work (“the very last straw!”), the pups leap onto the sleeping cat. They all curl up to sleep together, becoming friends as indicated in a photo-album collection on the concluding endpapers. The uncomplicated story structure and large, motion-filled illustrations make this an appealing choice for younger preschoolers just moving into real stories. However, some of the vocabulary and wordplay, such as “pug-o-war” for tug of war, “love seat” for sofa or couch, Legos described simply as “bricks,” and “the very last straw,” are over the heads of the intended audience. Another confusing issue is the mismatch of the colors of the cat and the pug ears and snouts on the cover, which do not match the colors in the internal illustrations.

Stick with a tried-and-true version of “The Three Little Pigs” and one of the charming pug stories of the last few years, such as Pug by Ethan Long (2016) or Pig and Pug by Lynne Barry and illustrated by Gemma Correll (2015). (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0529-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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