Nick Bruel’s books about Bad Kitty and Puppy are far better treatments of the theme than this tired outing.

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PETLANDIA

Petlandia: utopia or P-U-topia?

Madame Wigglesworth the cat was tolerant of her humans, the Finkleblurts, until they brought home a puppy named Grub. Now they are much more interested in rubbing his belly than in worshipping her. The grumpy feline hatches a plan to get rid of the humans by exploiting Grub’s extreme stupidity. Telling him the family will withhold all belly rubs, she tricks Grub into ejecting the family from the house while they sleep. After the humans are gone, Madame Wigglesworth thinks she will again be queen, but a democratic vote among the pets, including love-struck Honeybaked Hamster and Clowny, the depressed clown fish, does not go her way. She enfranchises the rats who live in the basement for another vote. Honeybaked then invites the attic bats into the community…and so on, until the house is destroyed, and the Petlandians take refuge from the rain with the humans in the doghouse. The action takes place amid a mix of unfunny jokes, forced bad grammar and uber-dim characters, making this spin on the eternal conflict between cats and dogs a tedious one. Hannan is the creator of CatDog, Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy knockoff, and his reliance on such aural devices as Honeybaked’s Brooklyn accent and Grub’s baby talk just do not work in print.

Nick Bruel’s books about Bad Kitty and Puppy are far better treatments of the theme than this tired outing. (Humor. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-16211-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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