Quibbles aside, a gratifying and satisfying animal tale.



A bear’s tranquility and rest are rudely interrupted by a buzzing, whirring bug eager to make the bear’s warm fur his new place of lodging.

Bug’s incessant swirling about and landing on Bear is exasperating, leaving Bear to growl, “My fur’s not your home. Now PLEASE go away!” But the stripy red insect is all too content to settle in on Bear, even though his home seems “a TEENSY bit grumpy.” Bear’s desperate cry, “Won’t SOMEBODY help me?” brings clever old Owl with a plan, and relief is finally suggested for the agitated bear. Bothersome Bug is encouraged to nestle in with Sloth, who welcomes the idea. “ ‘I’d be MOST grateful,’ said Sloth with a grin, / ‘To have a small bug make his home on my skin. / I don’t move around much because I’m so slow. / But now I’ll have a friend wherever I go!’ ” Bug’s energetic dancing spin is highlighted with a tangle of dashes around Bear’s frustrated poses. Bold, large animal caricatures in vibrant colors, often on double-page spreads, balance well with the fluent rhyming text making it suitably easy for multiple readings. It’s too bad there’s no author’s note to provide a basic explanation of why a sloth’s fur is a perfect host for bugs, and the flora and fauna are more consistent of a northern woodland than a sloth’s typical rain- or cloud-forest habitat.

Quibbles aside, a gratifying and satisfying animal tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017


Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers.


From the Lola & Leo series

After years of everyday joys with McQuinn and Beardshaw’s Lola, readers now watch her start school.

It “will be a bit like story time at the library, but Lola will stay by herself.” The little black girl “knows what to expect” because she’s visited the school with her mom. She is prepared with gifts from loved ones—“fun pencils” from Nana, a water bottle from Ty. The night before her “big day,” Lola lays out her outfit. In the morning, she tucks her stuffed kitty, Dinah, in her bag and poses for a snapshot. In the classroom, Miss Suzan, a white woman, shows her where to put her things. Lola spends time reading with her friend Julia, who has pale skin and black hair, and then they play dress-up. Her mom sits for a while before saying goodbye. After snack time and more play, there is circle time. Of course, “Lola knows the song and all the motions.” Picking Lola up at the end of the day, Mommy hugs her daughter. Beardshaw’s soft, slightly smudgy illustrations allow young readers to focus on one cozy moment at a time. Even at this milestone, Lola still appears quite tiny, and the text is no more complex than in previous books, making this a seamless transition from Lola’s younger days to her new life in school.

Both perfect for Lola fans and likely to earn her ever more readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-938-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...


Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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