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BUDDY IS SO ANNOYING

Visually appealing and wryly amusing.

A tale of best friends, one a human child and one a very anthropomorphized boar named Buddy.

The unnamed boy and the boar meet in kindergarten, and the young human immediately complains: “He’s annoying when he can’t keep up.” The strong, expressive gouache paintings with an unusual palette of blue, brown and orange have a hip, contemporary look. They depict the light-skinned redhead and the brown boar racing on scooters and in the swimming pool. The next double-page spread shows the two reaching out for the same piece of food with their chopsticks, and the text reads contradictorily: “He’s also annoying when he’s faster than me!” The two go through the fights that any two boys have, over possessions, fishing competitions, games, and even who can pee farther. Occasional graphic sequences advance the story clearly, mixing with full-page illustrations and double-page spreads. Some drama enters when Buddy goes on vacation and the boy really misses him. An illustration of Buddy in a beach chair with sunglasses and a cellphone reporting, “The waves here are three stories tall!,” opposite the boy lounging at home, trying to top this story, is very cool. The last pages feature thumbnail black-and-white watercolors of two boys growing older, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. A Simplified Chinese version publishes simultaneously, featuring simplified characters and transliterated text directly above the characters. A glossary and a sequence of thumbnail reproductions of the illustrations accompanied by the English text rounds out the package.

Visually appealing and wryly amusing. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-945-29511-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candied Plums

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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THE HUGASAURUS

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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ROBOT, GO BOT!

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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