A book to cherish for years to come.

What do you do when you’re all alone? If you’re a robot, you make your own friends!

Readers begin this story in a landscape fit for Kenneth Grahame, but there are no toads or badgers in sight. Instead, they meet Little Robot, a short, round little fellow that resembles the cuddly offspring of L. Frank Baum’s Tik-Tok and a toaster. Little Robot is cheerful about his life and routine, so cheerful that every day he wakes up and sings a series of songs. When Little Robot has his breakfast, for instance, he croons: “Oats with oozy oil are yummy / slipping slowly down my tummy.” But although his life is peaceful, he feels a little lonely. What’s a robot to do? Thankfully, this robot has moxie (and a little imagination), so he decides to build himself a doggie friend. MacLachlan and Charest’s text practically screams to be read aloud, and their writing is only further enhanced by Phelan’s inviting watercolor illustrations. Subtle shifts in both the text and illustrations support readers: While the narration is written in black, Little Robot’s songs are written in green so no one will ever miss their cue to sing. Phelan’s art hints subtly at things to come, from Little Robot’s dog-shaped thought bubble of inspiration to the slow development of Little Dog himself.

A book to cherish for years to come. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-44280-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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