A happy tale of domestic amity, with a well-set-up punchline.

READ REVIEW

ONE COOL FRIEND

Boy and Antarctic bird bond in a tongue-in-cheek tale keyed by artful misdirection.

Drawn to an aquarium’s penguin exhibit because the birds resemble his own tuxedo-wearing self, young Elliot secures permission from his (seemingly) distracted single dad to get a penguin. Rather than hit the gift shop, though, he pops a live one he dubs “Magellan” into his backpack. Using a hose, a backyard wading pool and an overpowered air conditioner, he sets up a rink in his bedroom. He stashes his diminutive new buddy amid frozen seafood in the fridge overnight, then leaves him splashing around in a tub of extra-cold water the next day. Crisis looms when Elliot’s still strangely oblivious father heads for the bathroom—but, as observers sharp enough to have picked up some subtle visual clues will understand, Magellan isn’t the only exotic animal in the house, and the old man has good reason to be more surprised than shocked to find himself sharing the tub with an interloper. In line with Buzzeo’s elegantly spare text, Small uses neutral washes with loosely drawn lines and highlights of restrained color to depict the urbane lad and his equally dapper companion making themselves comfortably at home in upper-crust digs.  

A happy tale of domestic amity, with a well-set-up punchline. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3413-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more