A fun exploration of recognizing the error of one’s ways and making and keeping friends.

NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON'T

A mischievous chameleon learns it’s important not only to change colors, but also one’s ways.

Chameleon is a trickster and proud of it. Narrating this lively romp in first—er, lizard, Chameleon gleefully boasts of its playfully sneaky antics. Whenever it wants to get away with some wily shenanigans—which is always—it simply plays the camouflage card and hides in plain sight. Pretty cool that Chameleon can switch from gray to red—or purple, silver, or whatever shade suits its purpose. It’s also a clever means of shirking responsibilities or bedtime and of literally stealing food out from under a pal’s nose. But everyone gets a comeuppance eventually. When Chameleon unwittingly causes a chain reaction that could land a neighbor in trouble if not danger, Frog, in a giggle-inducing scene, comically turns the tables. In an ending that feels rushed, a contrite Chameleon owns up to its mistakes and apologizes. Harmony and friendship are restored. This jaunty tale is presented in bouncy rhymes that match smiley Chameleon’s devil-may-care attitude toward life and fellow creatures. Many readers will understand and sympathize as they chuckle. Illustrations are colorful, lush, and vegetation-filled, appropriate to the jungle setting; animals typical of this backdrop are depicted: an elephant, a jaguar, a sloth, an orangutan, and toucans. Ample white space helps readers focus on Chameleon, its friends, and the humorous goings-on. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 61.4% of actual size.)

A fun exploration of recognizing the error of one’s ways and making and keeping friends. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-210-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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