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CAN PUP FIND THE PUPS?

From the I Like To Read series

Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf.

In this seek-and-find story aimed at children beginning their reading journey, readers follow a young boy and his dog as they search for naughty, elusive puppies.

An artistic boy who is the namesake of Britain’s famous Tate art gallery leaves home and walks to a museum with his rainbow-hued poodle, Pup, in tow. As they enter the museum, Pup notices five poodle pups, each a different color, trailing them. Once inside, the little whelps promptly blend into the elaborate exhibits. While Pup relentlessly searches for them with binoculars, Tate draws dinosaurs, planets, and butterflies in his sketchbook. Each time he draws, the text challenges readers to find the hidden pups in his crowded artwork. On the way home, Pup is gloomy, uncertain as to the puppies’ fates. Children and adults alike will smile at the happy ending. This leveled reader uses predictable and repetitive text with sight words, but there is just enough variety in the sentences to support the amusing narrative. The illustrations, created with black gesso, ink, graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor, are the real centerpiece. Kirsch is just as adept at rendering the colorful museum exhibits as the grayscale, childlike drawings in Tate’s sketchbook. Young readers will find the fun Where’s Waldo?–element of this story hard to resist. Tate and the only other human character, a museum docent, are both White.

Unabashedly artsy and sure to enjoy a long stay on the read-again shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4605-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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THE CRAYONS GO BACK TO SCHOOL

Nothing new here but a nonetheless congenial matriculant in publishing’s autumnal rite of back-to-school offerings.

The Crayons head back to class in this latest series entry.

Daywalt’s expository text lays out the basics as various Crayons wave goodbye to the beach, choose a first-day outfit, greet old friends, and make new ones. As in previous outings, the perennially droll illustrations and hand-lettered Crayon-speak drive the humor. The ever wrapperless Peach, opining, “What am I going to wear?” surveys three options: top hat and tails, a chef’s toque and apron, and a Santa suit. New friends Chunky Toddler Crayon (who’s missing a bite-sized bit of their blue point) and Husky Toddler Crayon speculate excitedly on their common last name: “I wonder if we’re related!” White Crayon, all but disappearing against the page’s copious white space, sits cross-legged reading a copy of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. And Yellow and Orange, notable for their previous existential argument about the color of the sun, find agreement in science class: Jupiter, clearly, is yellow AND orange. Everybody’s excited about art class—“Even if they make a mess. Actually…ESPECIALLY if they make a mess!” Here, a spread of crayoned doodles of butterflies, hearts, and stars is followed by one with fulsome scribbles. Fans of previous outings will spot cameos from Glow in the Dark and yellow-caped Esteban (the Crayon formerly known as Pea Green). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nothing new here but a nonetheless congenial matriculant in publishing’s autumnal rite of back-to-school offerings. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9780593621110

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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THE SCARECROW

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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