This screwball of a story will leave readers hankering for a slice.

SECRET PIZZA PARTY

From the madcap creators of Dragons Love Tacos (2012), another animal foodie shows just how far he will go to get his favorite meal.

Raccoon loves pizza. He can’t get enough of the “gooey cheesy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet, sweet tomato-ness and crispity, crunchity crust.” Alas, there is one thing that stands between Raccoon and his pizza—human beings. More specifically, human beings with brooms. They always chase him away! How will Raccoon ever get his paws on the delectable dish that he desires? By throwing a secret pizza party, of course. After donning an elaborate disguise in order to get the pizza, then following an even more elaborate escape route riddled with obstacles (past the broom factory, over the broom enthusiasts club), Raccoon is finally ready for his SECRET PIZZA PARTY! (Shhhhh, it’s a secret, remember?) But before taking a bite, he sees a masquerade ball going on right outside his tree. Will his built-in mask and wily ways help him get even more pizza? Salmieri’s droll illustrations capture Raccoon in many moods: quiet desperation with his nose pressed longingly against the pizza parlor’s window, furtive, trench-coated scheming. And yes, finally, deliriously happy, cheesy gluttony.

This screwball of a story will leave readers hankering for a slice. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3947-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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