From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Purposeful, but saved from didacticism by the sheer exuberance of the illustrations; the accessible text introduces the idea...


Although today’s kids usually communicate through texting or email, Elliot from the United States and Kailash from India use pictures and a few simple sentences to exchange information about their lives. 

Their teachers facilitate the snail mailing of pictorial letters, just as the author-illustrator did when she visited Nepal, which provided the inspiration for this book. The title, also used as a refrain throughout the book, is a popular saying in India and Nepal, heard by Kostecki-Shaw when she traveled there. Elliot and Kailash explore their similarities and differences, concluding that their lives are “Different, different but the SAME!” The engaging childlike acrylic paintings with crayon, pencil, tissue paper and other collage elements show the busy crowded American streets of Elliot’s city, the traditional buildings of Kailash’s riverside village, the taxis and buses in the States and the taxis and camel-pulled carts in India. The English alphabet is reproduced on wide-ruled notebook paper and the Hindi alphabet (unfortunately unidentified) on a small slate, and both typical American pets (dog and fish) and a whole farmyard of Indian animals appear. Both kids live unusually low-tech lives (no computers or cell phones in sight), but they each enjoy learning about their pen pal’s world.

Purposeful, but saved from didacticism by the sheer exuberance of the illustrations; the accessible text introduces the idea of traditional two-way communication and demonstrates just how small our world can be. (Picture book. 5-7) 

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8946-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Even tantrum-prone readers will love seeing how the grumbletroll works through rage and restores friendships.


When he’s frustrated, hungry, and stubborn, even the nicest troll can turn into a grumbletroll.

“Right behind the forest, first a few steps straight ahead, then once to the left and twice to the right, there lives a little troll.” He’s clearly enjoying a marvelous life—until he decides to build himself a cottage retreat. When his construction collapses, the furry, bright blue troll stomps off in an escalating tantrum described and depicted with both humor and insight. When apples won’t fall from the tree, he shouts “so angrily” that “the worms in the apples get hiccups.” Every little thing makes him rage harder. “It’s as if there is a thunderstorm living inside him. With lightning shooting out of the sky. With thunder rumbling tremendously.” Now the grumbletroll emerges, complete with two scraggly tusks marring his once-cuddly face. That night, his animal friends encourage the grumbletroll to settle down and let them sleep, but he defiantly insists on sleeping sitting up. The next morning, when the grumbletroll roars with complaints, his fed-up friends leave. Soon lonely and bored, the grumbletroll floats an apology to his friends, who are, perhaps unrealistically, quick to accept, and troll’s marvelous life resumes, his cottage retreat now complete. At more than 800 words, this book is recommended for practiced listeners who are also ready to think about managing their own anger. This German import is a companion title for a plush toy developed by creative team aprilkind.

Even tantrum-prone readers will love seeing how the grumbletroll works through rage and restores friendships. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6117-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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