PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS

From the Pug & Pig series

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 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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.

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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