Digby and Percy are slated to return in additional adventures; whether they can win the contest to capture the interest of...

DIGBY O'DAY IN THE FAST LANE

From the Digby O'Day series , Vol. 1

Mother-daughter, author-illustrator team Hughes and Vulliamy collaborate for a low-key tale with an old-fashioned feel, decidedly British flavor and cheerful illustrations.

Digby O’Day and his best friend, Percy, are anthropomorphic dogs in natty suits. Digby’s neighbor (and nemesis) Lou Ella is a stylish young woman with a fondness for fast cars. Secondary characters range from human (the members of the “friendly family,” among others), to badger (entrepreneurial brothers Don and Ron Barrakan), to various other, unnamed animals. The slight plot focuses on an auto race from one small town to another; the message, meanwhile, has more to do with kindness and altruism versus thoughtlessness and selfishness. Spelling has been Americanized, but some vocabulary may momentarily stump readers on this side of the Atlantic. Red-and-pink–tinged illustrations, created with pencil, ink and digital collage, appear on every page, breaking up the text, adding humor and clearly depicting the events as described in the straightforward text. A simple map allows readers to follow the racers along their routes. A two-page profile of Digby precedes the first chapter; car games, a quiz, drawing prompts, and brief bios of the author and illustrator as well as a preview of the next book follow the final one.

Digby and Percy are slated to return in additional adventures; whether they can win the contest to capture the interest of young readers and listeners remains to be seen. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7369-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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