Feels like a TV cartoon with lots of silly action and no real point, but fun nonetheless.

THE GREAT SHEEP SHENANIGANS

A self-deluded wolf is determined to catch a lamb for his supper.

Lou Pine believes that he is wily and sly and much smarter than any sheep. When Rambo the Ram blocks his initial foray into the pasture, insisting that he scram and vamoose, Lou decides that a “sheepy disguise” is the way to success. He tries stealing Ma Watson’s fluffy white gown, getting painted white by a road-marking machine, covering himself in cotton candy and threatening Red Riding Hood’s granny into knitting him a sheep-like sweater. But all his attempts meet with dismal failure and a rather disgusting final reckoning. Bently employs rollicking rhyme at a breakneck pace to tell the goofy tale. The lines are of varying lengths and don’t always scan neatly, but the rhymes are mostly breezy and accessible to young readers. Word selection is quite slangy and might not sit well with adults, especially in Lou’s last adventure, in which he “land[s] kersplat in a big pile of poo!” Of course, little ones will delight in the grossness. The text weaves in and around Matsuoka’s textured, stylized cartoon illustrations, adding greatly to the hilarity. But, strangely, Lou doesn’t even remotely resemble a wolf and really looks like no recognizable animal.

Feels like a TV cartoon with lots of silly action and no real point, but fun nonetheless. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-8990-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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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

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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

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