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From the Peanut, Butter, and Crackers series , Vol. 1

An easy handoff to animal lovers.

Squirrel wars, furballs, and a new family member are just a few of the problems pets face in this humorous graphic novel for younger readers.

Crackers, a dog with a big to-do list—barking, napping, peeing outside, barking again, and sniffing stuff—lives with Butter, a wise cat who fantasizes about boxes and can openers. The two live in harmony until their human (seen only as a pair of light-brown hands) brings home Peanut, a panting puppy who pees on the floor, eats Crackers’ food, interrupts nap time, and keeps both Crackers and Butter up at night. After their human leaves them alone with Peanut and a disastrous mess of garbage, strewn toilet paper, and chewed shoes, books, and furniture results, they think that this will end Peanut’s stay. When Peanut receives only a finger-wagging, Butter devises a plan that ends with Peanut lost and alone. Readers, especially those with pets, will find comedic recognition in the antics of these three furry friends and pleased satisfaction when Butter’s and Crackers’ moral compasses kick in, Peanut’s rescue creating a bond that brings the three together. With humor that is observant and good-natured, Braddock’s engaging comic-book paneling and pacing are an ideal match for early readers ready to delve into something a little longer. (Efird contributes the colors.) The banter between Crackers and Butter reveals genuine affection between the two, and Peanut’s puppy earnestness is endearing.

An easy handoff to animal lovers. (Graphic fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11743-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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