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From the Little Bruce series

Hilarious proof that a caregiver’s work is never done.

Bruce the bear shepherds his family of geese and mice on a trip to the seaside.

It’s hot—too hot—and everyone is feeling it. Everyone but Bruce, who, unbothered, appears to be taking a page from his book The Joys of Doing Nothing. Not ones to languish long, the mice propose turning the house into a beach resort; when Bruce shoots that idea down, they suggest going to the beach. The geese agree and enthusiastically run ahead, leaving Bruce to carry the gear. The mice and geese have fun in the sun while the long-suffering Bruce wrestles with their umbrella and floaties. A rollicking time is had by all, except, of course, poor Bruce. Finally settled, with a relaxed “Ahhhh,” Bruce is once again reunited with his book. Unsurprisingly, the respite is short-lived, and the sky almost immediately fills with clouds, then torrential rain. The beachgoers run for home, leaving Bruce once again to clean up. Disappointed, the mice and geese look to Bruce for a solution. Of course, in typical grump-with-a-heart-of-gold fashion, he finds a way to put things right. As in previous entries, Higgins’ signature illustrations, with their deft use of line and shading, are a delight. Young readers will enjoy the antics of the expressive mice and geese, and adults will recognize (and sympathize with) Bruce’s tireless schlepping and entertaining.

Hilarious proof that a caregiver’s work is never done. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781368090247

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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