A mildly humorous story that doesn’t really stand out in the crowded arena of interspecies friendship.

PUG MEETS PIG

A little dog named Pug is perfectly happy in his cozy, suburban world until pushy Pig moves in.

Pug lives in a big house with a fenced backyard and his own little doghouse to sleep in. Pig arrives (seemingly out of nowhere) wearing a friendly smile and a dress with a ruffled collar. She moves right in on Pug’s territory, slurping up his dog food, making friends with the neighbor cat, and taking over Pug’s doghouse. Pug is ready to leave home, but a new doggy door (installed by the unseen owner) gives him the ability to get in and out of the main house, while Pig can’t fit through the little door. Pug takes pity on poor Pig, gnawing on the door to enlarge it so it can be a “piggy door” for Pig’s convenience as well. Pug and Pig then immediately begin to share everything, becoming best friends and living happily together. Pug’s abrupt change of heart is a bit too sudden to be believable, with Pig not really earning her acceptance as a new housemate. The simple, understated text with just a few words on each page will be enjoyed by younger preschoolers and will also be accessible to new readers, and the jaunty, oversized illustrations have a cheerful, straightforward appeal that suits the text. The only human characters are three neighbor children who can be seen peeking over the fence at Pug and Pig; all are children of color. Pig and Pug, by Lynne Barry and illustrated by Gemma Correll (2015), covers similar territory but with more sophisticated humor.

A mildly humorous story that doesn’t really stand out in the crowded arena of interspecies friendship. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2066-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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 winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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