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MORNING PUPPA

An amusing mystery with a cute canine protagonist.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Our Verdict
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A dog searches for his missing belongings and friends in this picture book.

Puppa, an Australian shepherd, can’t find his beloved teacup. It is not on the bedside table where he left it. He wonders: “Was porcelain plundered as I counted sheep?” The canine hopes to enlist his friends in his hunt for the thief, but they are missing, too. For example, his pal Matcha is not in the toy box “where I left him.” Perplexed, Puppa decides to fix himself a snack, but the kitchen is bare: Even the cabinets are empty. He is determined to catch the perpetrator, because “this doggone mess has ruined my day.” Puppa grows hungry and thirsty (“I need a hot cuppa, a muffin, a waffle”). When he smells delicious aromas, he follows his nose and discovers his friends enjoying a party: “All of my pals were here the whole time! Nothing was stolen. There was no crime.” They even saved Puppa a special seat. The pooch exclaims: “Breakfast with friends is my cup of tea!” Anastasia’s fun story features a dash of mystery that is clever and kid-friendly. Readers will enjoy following Puppa’s movements. Saunders’ adorable illustrations depict the canine’s search. The detailed party scenes featuring a table full of treats are especially delightful. The images include anthropomorphic details, like Puppa’s red scarf. They also depict elements of the dog’s imagination, such as various foods, and indicate that his pals are toys or pillows.

An amusing mystery with a cute canine protagonist.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-952425-02-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Jackal Moon Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2021

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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THE WATER PRINCESS

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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