PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS

From the Pug & Pig series

Unsatisfying.

Now that Pug and Pig are fast friends, it’s time to meet some of their other buddies.

In the yard of their large Victorian house, dog and pig explore and run in circles with their friends Robin and Squirrel (with the latter’s prominent stripe, Chipmunk might be a better name, though their tail is fluffy). Cat just watches these shenanigans, waiting for an opportunity to engage in her own fun: surprising Pug. Cat and Pig find this activity wildly amusing, but the other three “do not like surprises at all.” When a thunderstorm suddenly strikes, it’s every friend for themselves. Squirrel and Robin go to their tree nests, Pug and Pig run to their (dog)“house” (which looks like a small version of their Victorian “home”), and Cat, frightened by lightning, gets stuck in a tree. There she remains until clever Pug lures her down with her favorite pastime, which this time amuses all five friends. Not much happens in this outing, and there’s little to no character growth, making this closer in feel to the duo’s first meeting (Pug Meets Pig, 2016) than to their shining Halloween moment (Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat, 2017). The simply drawn cartoon scenes with few details and blocks of color keep the focus on the expressive faces and body language of the friends. Cat’s adorned with a collar and flower atop her head, Pig sports a blue shirt with a yellow ruffled collar, and Pug has a bow tie. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Unsatisfying. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6300-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

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. 1, 2021

I LOVE YOU, MY LITTLE DINOSAUR

A SWEET, SELF-ESTEEM PICTURE BOOK FOR KIDS!

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.”

The cover’s glowing golden stars are but a small hint of the parent-child love inside.

In this companion book to the creators’ I Love You, My Little Unicorn (2022), a world full of digitally created dinosaurs illustrated in eye-catching colors dominates the pages. From the start, it’s clear that dinosaur parents have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring that human parents do. Readers don’t have to be dinosaur fans to smile when the parent-and-child dinosaur pairs playfully interact and share loving glances. Take special note of the ankylosauruses, whose tails arc to form a heart beneath a sky filled with heart-shaped clouds. The text in verse shares words of unconditional parental love and support and wisdom (“please remember all these things / that I want you to know”), appropriate for humans and dinos alike. “Roar with all your might!” “Spread your wings and fly.” “Use your voice, and ask for help.” There’s even a caveat that some “days will be dark / and other shades of gray.” But “there’s always brightness up ahead.” While the loving sentiments in the storytelling are clear, words are sometimes inverted to make the rhyme work, and the verse doesn’t always follow a consistent meter, but prereading will let the story shine during quiet snuggle times.

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728268361

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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