Cleverly designed for new readers’ success.

READ REVIEW

IT IS A TREE

From the I Like to Read series

In a version of the Indian fable “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” an assortment of jungle animals plays a blindfolded guessing game.

The story begins wordlessly with the lion giving each animal a blindfold before leading the elephant to another area. Blindfolded, the lion cub feels the elephant’s leg and declares, “It is a tree.” Readers will immediately see the illustration of a tree trunk within the speech bubble and understand how the cub came to that conclusion. Next, comically balancing atop a ladder, the blindfolded giraffe feels what must be a wall but is in reality the elephant’s flat side. The game continues with the hippo mistaking the elephant’s trunk for a snake; the crocodile, a wrinkled ear for a fan; the zebra, the tail for a rope; and the turtle, a tusk for a pipe. Each of these guesses is expressed in a simple sentence beginning “It is a…” with a visual of the animal’s guess to provide picture cues for emerging readers. A final review lists each word next to its position on an elephant-shaped brick wall with tree-trunk legs, a rope tail, two fans, and a befuddled snake dangling between two pipes. But as readers turn the page, the now-cheering friends, blindfolds off, reveal, “It is an elephant.” The amusing cartoon artwork makes for an excellent enhancement. The story’s origins are revealed only in the cataloging-in-publication statement.

Cleverly designed for new readers’ success. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4531-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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