A heartwarming epistolary tale of helpfulness.

I FOUND A KITTY!

What’s Arfy to do when he finds a stray kitten in a drainpipe?

Arfy’s human’s allergic to cats, so his new buddy needs a home. The pup picks up his pencil and writes a letter of introduction to the music teacher. “Scamper likes to eat, play, and poop in a box. He also likes to sing!” Scamper carries the letter to Maestro Mitch’s house. Mitch is charmed, but he sends Scamper back with a letter saying the kitten’s high notes are too much. Arfy pens a second letter, hoping to place Scamper with the triplet babies next door. Their snuggling turns out to be too much for Scamper; he runs away. Arfy’s third letter introduces Scamper to Emily Lugnut the mechanic, offering the puss as a mouser…but Scamper’s more interested in playing with the mice than catching them; Emily returns him with a note and an apology. Neither the talent agent nor the man with cat-themed decorations works out either. Scamper thanks Arfy in a note of his own. It’s only when the little furball enumerates his favorite parts of each attempted placement that Arfy realizes the perfect home for his new friend and writes one last letter of introduction. Cummings’ follow-up to Arfy’s winning debut, Can I Be Your Dog? (2018), is equally charming. The colorful and dynamic illustrations oppose each item of correspondence on verso against a scene on recto to tell the tale hand in paw with Arfy’s missives and the answering letters. Humans of diverse races live in Arfy’s town.

A heartwarming epistolary tale of helpfulness. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3186-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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