Consider Tom Birdseye and Ethan Long's Oh, Yeah! (2003) for backyard-camping fun instead. (Picture book. 4-8)

ALFIE IS NOT AFRAID

A clichéd story accompanied by less-than-engaging illustrations. 

With his nameless owner narrating, a black-and-white dog named Alfie prepares for the quintessential backyard campout. The young boy is full of pride for his brave pup, rattling off all of dangers of which Alfie is not afraid—grizzly bears, poisonous spiders and boa constrictors, to name a few. As the list of terrors lengthens, the little dog reassesses this camping idea and is eventually found quaking with fear in the sleeping bag. As night falls, the drop of a nearby acorn morphs into deadly asteroids and alien invasions. What can possibly happen next? As the boy’s imagination plucks out a multitude of canned fears, it is mildly humorous to see the myriad ways the panicked dog is imagined. But there is little visual attraction to either the fearful dog or his blustering owner. The illustrations are flat and unsubtle, with pages alternating between multiple black outlined scenes that represent the dog's imagination and the camping expedition. Even the typeface choices seem simply stuck onto the page. There are enough camping stories available to demand a stronger story before adding this to the shelf.

Consider Tom Birdseye and Ethan Long's Oh, Yeah! (2003) for backyard-camping fun instead.  (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4537-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

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. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more