Though there’s a plethora of choices in the rodent canon, this shines bright.

THE GREAT ART CAPER

From the Pets on the Loose! series , Vol. 2

Cuddly classroom pets must stop a group of rapacious rodents from ruining the elementary art show in this sequel to The Great Pet Escape (2016).

In the second-grade classroom of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary lives George Washington, a lovably plump tawny-and-white hamster. GW spends his days palling around with the other class pets, Sunflower the guinea pig and Barry the bunny, and also with his best friend, a pigtailed, white-skinned second-grader named Carina. When Carina’s picture is chosen for the art show as the only second-grade submission, GW is thrilled. But the mischievous mouse Harriet and her murine minions have other plans for the art show, plotting to steal Carina’s picture and having GW’s gang sent away to St. Bart’s Obedience School for Unruly Pets. Can GW and his friends work together to outsmart Harriet before she wrecks the show? This gentle graphic adventure’s warm and inviting illustrations portray snuggleworthy characters resembling stuffed toys brought to life. The animated and adorable menagerie displays a pleasing blend of silliness and good-natured naughtiness, imparting a kind message of friendship without a hint of saccharinity. A sweet surprise ending with equal emphasis on humans and animals sets this apart from many critter tales.

Though there’s a plethora of choices in the rodent canon, this shines bright. (Graphic fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-118-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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

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Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it.

NOODLEHEADS SEE THE FUTURE

Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted.

Fools have been called “noodleheads” for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren’t the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she’ll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they’re sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase “firewood seeds” (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors’ note, which goes into some detail about each chapter’s folk origins.

Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3673-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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