The story cries out for an overpowered reading, which is as likely to provoke a brawl as laughter.

A bevy of fairy-tale creatures descend on a newly minted and totally unprepared petsitter.

Young Bob, who wears a Peruvian hat and has freckled, light-brown skin, and his purple dog, Rex, live “on a nice neat hill, in a nice neat house, with neat roses.” But Bob and Rex are “very, very poor.” Since their neighborhood is overrun with pets, they decide to become petsitters. They advertise: “NO PET TOO BIG.” Mistake. With the morning comes their first customer, a little golden-haired, white girl who wants them to look after her baby bear. The bear is a complainer: someone’s been into his porridge, sat in his chair, and slept in his bed—but that’s Rex’s bed, which he breaks. “Ding Dong!” Jack’s goose needs tending, and so do the troll’s three billy goats. Mayhem ensues as Bob and Rex lose—or never gain—control over the lot when three pigs drop by to hand off “Our—um—puppy.” Or wolf, which huffs and puffs and “BLEW THE HOUSE DOWN!!!!” Bob is now homeless as well as poor. He keeps his cool, for he still has the beans. “ ‘I’ll be a gardener!’…What could possibly go wrong?” Corderoy’s thin narrative rests on an appreciation of upside-down slapstick and a knowledge of the tales, and it is fully fueled by the rumbustious illustrations.

The story cries out for an overpowered reading, which is as likely to provoke a brawl as laughter. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-064-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


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. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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