This humorous tale may become a dog lover’s favorite.

LET'S SWAP FOR A DAY

A child and pet enjoy trading lives for a day, until nature calls and accommodations are needed.

Alphie, a human child with pale skin and black hair, and Nini, a brown dog with pointed ears, are best friends. Sometimes, they “are jealous of each other’s life,” so one day they decide to swap. The morning goes well, with Alphie sleeping ’til noon in Nini’s dog bed and Nini attending school. The afternoon is fun; Alphie swims, plays Frisbee, and hides Daddy’s toupee while Nini listens to the teacher, makes art, and plays with (human) classmates. When it’s time to eat, though, the fun slows down; Alphie doesn’t like the taste of Nini’s bones, and Nini refuses Alphie’s vegetables. But they don’t give up until they really can’t go—the grass is no match for a bathroom, and vice versa. Liao’s brightly colored illustrations crackle with movement, child-friendly energy, and expression. The loose, casual application of paint matches the text’s breezy authority. The fact that the other characters aren’t fazed by a dog in school and at the table only adds to the hilarity of the swap. This perfectly paced, funny read uses only a touch of potty humor to cap off a sweet story of friendship, curiosity, and indulgence, ending with gratitude for something many of us take for granted. Caregivers won’t mind children rereading this silly book.

This humorous tale may become a dog lover’s favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6819-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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