A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist.

QUIET WYATT

Wyatt, with his tranquil predisposition, is unfortunately paired up with bold, noisy Noreen on a class trip to a nature park.

Strong, black pencil outlines create humorous caricatures, filled in with watercolor and gouache. Noreen’s big, bushy red ponytail plays off well against Wyatt’s mousy brown hair. She starts off boasting. “Fishing is my specialty” and “I was born for boating,” she brags. The illustrations show quite a different story. She tangles her line around Wyatt and causes him to fall out of the canoe. In an amusing double-page spread, she studies a butterfly and says, “I’m so good at noticing the details, it’s scary. “Meanwhile, she misses the large, bewildered beasts behind her. The two share other adventures, all dictated by Noreen: dangerous tree-climbing, hiking into poison ivy, zip lining. Finally, Noreen breaks into song just as she is walking down a hill that bears a sign warning of avalanche. Wyatt’s ninja-camp training, shown early in the book, kicks into high gear. He yells first and then, with a series of heroic moves, pulls Noreen out of the way of the descending rocks. Yes, it could be viewed as a typical boy-rescues-girl story, but in the end, Noreen and Wyatt end up enjoying nature quietly and doing martial arts together. These two opposite personalities are both white, although there is some diversity in the class.

A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-11330-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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PUG BLASTS OFF

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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