While more didactic, William Mulcahy and Darren McKee’s Zach Gets Frustrated (2012) teaches children to deal with their...

MIRACLE MELTS DOWN

From the Kindergators series , Vol. 2

Harry, star of the first Kindergators book, Hands Off, Harry (2011), relates the school day’s dramas to his parents.

And was it ever a doozy of a day. Miracle, who brings an unhealthy snack to school and doesn’t want to share, spends a good portion of the day sneaking bites. But when the radiator melts the Fudgettes, Miracle melts as well, and not for the last time—her lunch isn’t right, she spills her grape juice, she’s not the counting-card leader, Miguel steps on her foot. Throughout, her classmates sweetly though unrealistically go out of their way to try to cheer her up and generally let her get away with her whining ways. Her teacher even awards her the Star of Bravery for the one time she counts to 10 and doesn't melt down. No mention is made of her selfishness or breaking of the rules. No doubt, these students and their teacher are models of classroom harmony, but most classes will fall far short of their example. (Wells’ backmatter does provide a few tips for teachers on "Creating Harmony.") The gators are as visually distinctive as in their first outing, collaged clothing covering lumpy green skin, and Harry has not changed his active ways, doing flips in the classroom.

While more didactic, William Mulcahy and Darren McKee’s Zach Gets Frustrated (2012) teaches children to deal with their frustrations rather than depend on others to solve difficulties for them.   (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-192115-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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