While the book is visually appealing, the plot is very thin and not likely to inspire demands for rereading.

READ REVIEW

I USED TO BE A FISH

Fed up with the aquatic life, a fish ventures onto land, spawning eons of evolutionary change.

Bold, striking illustrations—black permanent marker outlines on a plain white background with solid blocks of red and blue—adorn this fanciful tale. As the now-amphibious creature becomes a reptile and then a mammal, it survives the events that kill off the dinosaurs, turns into a primate, walks upright, and finally becomes a white-skinned, red-haired, bearded man. Next come hunting, cave painting, and building structures of increasing complexity. The story ends with a small, white-skinned, red-haired boy dreaming of someday flying, superhero fashion. A timeline and author’s note provide additional information on the science of evolution written at a level far more advanced than the rest of the text. Evolution is, of course, a very complex topic, and Sullivan clarifies that he has written “a fictional story inspired by the science of evolution.” Young readers will get a general sense of the overall development of life forms over time and may be prompted to consider the abilities or characteristics they would like to develop if only wishing could make it so. Due to Sullivan’s choice of palette and style, they will miss the fact of Homo sapiens’ African origins.

While the book is visually appealing, the plot is very thin and not likely to inspire demands for rereading. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-245198-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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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