A delightful celebration of friendship and fancy.

BLANKIE

From the Narwhal and Jelly series

Narwhal and his jellyfish sidekick, Jelly, see just how much joy a simple thing can bring if they use a little imagination.

When Jelly remarks on Narwhal’s new “blankie,” Narwhal points out that it’s not just a blanket—it can do so much more. In fact, Narwhal’s blankie is amazingly versatile. It’s a blanket! It’s a hankie! And, of course, after sneezing into it, one can fashion it into a hat and wear it on one’s head. Mounted on a stick, it makes a dandy flag; gathered in a knot, it doubles as a bag. Blankie is a great place to host a picnic; it can also be worn as a cape or a dress. But Blankie’s best feature, Narwhal points out, is that it’s big enough for two—a cozy, warm place to snuggle with a friend. The two friends swim and play against an all-white background that accentuates their delightful expressions and chemistry. A few well-placed motion lines and Blankie’s various permutations provide the rest of the story in Clanton’s successful adaptation of his Narwhal and Jelly books for school-age readers. The characters’ loosely rhymed dialogue unfolds in fast-paced, breezy jokes, and a good-natured sense of play permeates the proceedings. The contemporaneously published volume Bubbles is similarly charming and manages one of the few fart jokes (kids love ’em) that one might arguably describe as clever.

A delightful celebration of friendship and fancy. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6678-0

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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