Young audiences will join in the general applause, and they may come away with a broadened notion of what a “win” looks like...

HOT ROD HOT DOG

Doodler concocts an updated—and considerably tweaked—version of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

There’s no “slow and steady” here. Grimly determined to beat Shelly “Shell on Wheels” Turtle, for once, in the annual Pickleberry Grand Prix, Rod the dachshund sets out to design and build a homemade racer. With help from Goldie Goldfish and after many failed experiments, Rod roars to the starting line in a souped-up lawn mower (as previewed on the cover, wreathed in flames thanks to an embedded spinner) fitted with “an extra-special mystery button.” The race is on! In the thick-lined, very simple cartoons, an all-animal cast stands on hind legs (or fins) beside an array of race cars with clever monikers like Goldie’s “Fishbowler” and Charlie Chicken’s “Egg-Sterminator.” Roaring around the track, Rod and Shelly are neck and neck…until a patch of oil suddenly sends Shelly into a tailspin. Rather than let her crash, Rod pushes the mystery button—to activate an ejection seat—snags Shelly as he flies by, and carries her over the finish line to a shared triumph. In the last scene, he and his erstwhile rival (evidently a good sport) share the trophy as they wave from the winner’s stand.

Young audiences will join in the general applause, and they may come away with a broadened notion of what a “win” looks like too. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6607-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

THE HUGASAURUS

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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