The difference between homework and home work? Nothing, in this case! (Picture book. 6-8)


From the Travellers' Tales series

So busy is a young Traveler’s weekend that he doesn’t realize until too late that he’s misplaced his homework book.

In the latest of a string of episodes richly infused with Traveler culture, O’Neill (Polonius the Pit Pony, 2018, etc.) pitches bitti mush (little man) Sonny into preparations for a cousin’s wedding that begin with cleaning the special cart and continue through watching a farrier make a new shoe for the driving gry (cart horse) to planning the road trip, dancing after the wedding, telling stories, and more. Afterward, he helps an older neighbor send an email message and makes popovers for Sunday dinner, among other activities. The next day, after fruitlessly searching for his book, Sonny glumly recounts the events of the weekend to the teacher and his class—who point out that his weekend’s included science (with the farrier), “food tech,” music, English, and every other subject too. The author slips Romani words into the narrative without italicizing them but does provide a glossary. Though Sonny lives in a kushti atchin tan (settled community) Beautyman evokes the Traveler way of life by tucking campers or motor homes into the backgrounds of several scenes. Sonny, olive-skinned and dark-haired, joins neighbors and relatives who display a range of skin tones; his classmates reflect the vigorous diversity of today’s British Isles.

The difference between homework and home work? Nothing, in this case! (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78628-346-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Amusing but a little off tempo.


It’s important to hit all the right notes.

A tan-skinned musical composer with puffy black hair is busy at work on his next musical masterpiece when Half Note, a music symbol denoting two beats, feels unappreciated. Half Note is jealous of the more commonly used Quarter Note (one beat) and Eighth Note. Although the other musical symbols attempt to calm and comfort Half Note, she decides to run away. The next day, Composer needs Half Note and panics when he realizes that she’s gone. The other notes and musical symbols try to find her, but it’s only when they try to play her favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” without her—with terrible results—that she comes running back. The story’s humor—which is largely based on “dad joke” puns—is completely dependent on readers’ musical knowledge. The artwork, a mix of acrylic and colored pencil, attempts to add some allegrezza to the piece, and while it’s not unsuccessful, it’s facing an uphill battle. Music teachers and musically minded caregivers may find some value in this story, but it will likely be too specialized for general readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Amusing but a little off tempo. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64567-631-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


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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